Hertog backs Al Jazira to continue winning streak - GulfToday

Hertog backs Al Jazira to continue winning streak


Despite being confident of a win in their upcoming tie, Al Jazira coach Damien Hertog (right) insists his team cannot afford to underestimate their opponents.

Al Jazira head coach Damien Hertog says his team is more than capable of maintaining their recent momentum when they face Dibba in Friday’s Arabian Gulf League clash.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi welcome bottom-placed Dibba to Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium with the hosts looking to secure their third consecutive victory in the competition.

Hertog has been pleased with his side’s recent form and is confident his players will again excel and claim another three points.

“We got a very good result last week (4-2 win) against Ittihad Kalba in difficult conditions, which was a second straight victory and we want to continue this winning streak against Dibba,” Hertog said in his pre-match press conference.

“Winning games gives the whole squad confidence which is very important in football. We have played some excellent football, creating a lot of chances and scoring goals. But we want to keep on improving as a team and raise our performances. The players are keen to get more good results and I am confident they can continue their good form and get the three points against Dibba.” Although Dibba is bottom of the standings, they have won two of their last three matches and Hertog insists his team cannot afford to underestimate their opponents.

“Dibba will not be an easy match at all,” he said. “They have won a couple of games now so they will be confident. We will have to play our best football against them.” Al Jazira will be without top-scorer Ali Mabkhout through suspension, as well as Ahmed Rabia, Adel Abubakr and Khalfan Mubarak, who are all injured.

Mabkhout has been prolific with 19 goals this season but Hertog believes there is plenty of firepower to deal with his absence.

“Ali Mabkhout is an experienced player who is the top-scorer in the league and anyone of that quality will be missed,” said the Dutchman.

“But we have missed many key players before and this is a great challenge for other players to step up and show their attacking qualities by contributing with goals.” Meanwhile, young defender Khalifa Al Hammadi says his team-mates will have to be on the top of their game to prevail against Dibba.

“It will be a difficult game as they play with a lot of intensity in every match. We are playing in our home stadium so it’s important to get the win and finish as high as possible in the league,” he said.

Meanwhile, du LaLiga High Performance Center (HPC) has announced that its U14, U15 and U16 teams will compete in the prestigious Mediterranean International Cup, taking place April 16-21 in Spain and bringing together Europe’s top youth club teams and national teams.

Providing young footballers the chance to compete against the strongest and most famous clubs of the world, the Mediterranean International Cup (MIC) has had the support of famous football personalities like Pep Guardiola, Luis Felipe Scolari, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

Many previous participants of the MIC have gone on to illustrious football careers with first division clubs like Leo Messi, (FC Barcelona), Cesc Fàbregas (Arsenal FC), Juan Mata and Anderson (Manchester United), Lucas (Liverpool FC), Kluivert (Ajax), Neymar Jr (PSG), Sergi Roberto and Coutinho (FC Barcelona) and Marcelo (Real Madrid).

The du LaLiga HPC teams will be part of 372 teams spanning 42 countries and 5 continents competing this year, which includes the likes of the youth clubs of FCB, Real Madrid, Ajax, Roma, Lyon, FC Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, PSG and PSV Eindhoven to name a few.

11-aside games will be played according to FIFA regulation and will take place over 5 days across different locations along Spain’s Costa Brava.

The du LaLiga High Performance Centre is the first of its kind centre outside of Spain by LaLiga, the world’s strongest league, providing the youth of the UAE with a unique opportunity to be discovered by LaLiga scouts and trained to highest LaLiga standards enabling them to join national or international clubs and teams.

Meanwhile, Chinese Super League outfit Dalian Yifang have said that their Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco can end his turbulent spell in China this year if he is desperately unhappy, comments which will alert top European sides including Arsenal and AC Milan.

The 25-year-old was strongly linked with a move away from Dalian Yifang during the winter transfer window.

Mooted moves to Arsenal and AC Milan failed to materialise and Carrasco, who joined Dalian from Atletico Madrid in February last year for a reported 10.5 million euros, stayed put.

But Dalian’s general manager Zhou Jun opened the door to his departure, telling the Dalian City News: “He has a contract with the club and cannot just leave when he wants.

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