Coach Zenga wants more from Al Nasr footballers

Walter Zenga insists Al Nasr must strive for much better standards both on – and off – the pitch if they are to emerge as credible challengers for the Etisalat Pro-League title in future.

By Alex Leach

Published: Sun 29 Apr 2012, 12:58 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:47 PM

Thursday night’s 1-1 home draw with Al Wasl in the Oud Metha derby left the Blue Wave still in fourth place and eight points off of champions elect Al Ain prior to Friday evening’s round of domestic fixtures. Nasr are then still a single position below where they finished last season and Zenga believes a sheer lack of sufficient professionalism across the board is hampering any hopes of progress in the Pro-League.

“The problem is regarding the mentality and the ambitions,” Nasr’s 51-year-old Italian coach said. “For me, there is more than a big difference between finishing fourth and finishing second.

“Every time we mark zonal, we concede a goal, whereas – when we mark man-to-man – we lose the man. I want to plug this problem.

“When everybody – not only the players, but the people working for this club – understands that to stay on top, we must be more professional and have more attention, more concentration and more sacrifice...more of everything, then we can join the very good and great teams. I like (Al) Shabab and what (Brazilian coach Paulo) Bonamigo did in this club. We are now in the same condition like Shabab was last year in the last three games.

“I don’t want to lose. I want to fight all of the time to finish as high as we can. I also want my players to respect my point of view and work hard to end up on the top level.”

Zenga did though hail the work ethic of fellow compatriot Luca Toni, who put in a workmanlike shift despite a heavily strapped left arm against Diego Maradona’s Cheetahs. “I want to thank Luca Toni because he played 90 minutes over the limit and helped the team so much without saying I’m tired or giving up,” he said of the former Bayern Munich, Fiorentina and Palermo striker. “You have to teach this mentality to all of the team and you have to always play the same way.”

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