Coach Zaccheroni apologises; contract with UAE FA ends
UAE coach Zaccheroni has accepted his tactical blunder.
Abu Dhabi - The coach benched an in-form Ismail Matar
By Ashwani Kumar
Published: Tue 29 Jan 2019, 8:48 PM
Last updated: Tue 29 Jan 2019, 10:54 PM
The UAE head coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Tuesday apologised to the country after failing to steer the 'Whites' into the finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. The Italian noted his contract with the UAE Football Association has ended with the tournament.
"I apologise to the fans and the leadership of the country. We tried to make everyone happy but failed. We tried our best but couldn't produce a positive result. I take full responsibility for the loss and defend my players who played with great spirits and gave everything on the pitch," Zaccheroni said at the post-match press conference.
Zaccheroni accepted a first-half tactical blunder as the reason for failure in the semifinal.
"I admit that tactics used at the start didn't pay off. I tried to change but it didn't pay off."
The coach benched an in-form Ismail Matar and gave confidence to wobbly defence by handing the captaincy to Fares Juma. Zaccheroni tried to make amends in the second half by replacing Amer Abdulrahman with Matar and introducing striker Ahmed Khalil but it was too little too late.
"I am the first one to be held responsible. We made mistakes."
The coach said the players tried hard but couldn't put their best performance in front of the fans.
"We were not expecting such a result. We were well-prepared but made many mistakes. We lost many passes. My players aren't used to losing so many passes in a game."
Zaccheroni took charge of the team in October 2017 and said the 15 months have been fruitful but his term had come to an end.
"We didn't reach the final but I am proud to have reached the semis stage. We are an excellent unit. My ambitions were higher than just being in the semifinal. We tried to reach the final but this is football. I did my best. I gave opportunity to young and experienced. We have gained a lot in 15 months but our goal was to win the Asian Cup. I had signed my contract with the UAE Football Association till the end of Asian Cup," the coach added. - firstname.lastname@example.org