Cuper wants Uzbeks to play attractive football
Uzbekistan players gear up to take on Oman in a Group F match.
Sharjah - Uzbeks have come into this tournament without playing a single international friendly
By Rituraj Borkakoty
Published: Tue 8 Jan 2019, 8:54 PM
Last updated: Tue 8 Jan 2019, 10:57 PM
After helping Egypt end their 28-year wait for a World Cup appearance, iconic Argentinian coach Hector Cuper targets a successful Asian Cup campaign with his new team Uzbekistan.
But it's not just the wins Cuper's men will be chasing on the field. The former Inter Milan coach also wants his team to mesmerize fans with their slick passing game.
Now as Uzbekistan prepare to kick off their Group F campaign against Oman at the Sharjah Stadium on Wednesday, Cuper says his team have what it takes to come up with the sort of football that will be admired by the fans.
"I have had enough time to work together with the players. During the preparation time, we have changed a lot of things. But no coach can guarantee that tomorrow his team will play an extraordinary game. But as I have said, we did change quite a lot of things in the camp. Hopefully, everyone will see the real image of the team in the game tomorrow (Wednesday). It will be attractive football that will be liked by all the fans," Cuper told reporters at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
The Uzbeks have come into this tournament in the UAE without playing a single international friendly.
"It was my decision not to play friendly games before the Asian Cup. But I am not worried about it," Cuper said. "Of course, we would have liked to play some friendly games against teams that are taking part in the Asian Cup. But there is no point in playing friendlies against teams that didn't qualify.
"Also there is always a high risk of injury in friendly games. So I didn't want my players to suffer any kind of injury scares before the tournament."
Meanwhile, Odil Akhmedov says the absence of star Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has given Uzbekistan a big advantage in Wednesday's Group F opener.
"We all know that Al Habsi is one of the most important players of the Oman national team. We know him very well as a player. Of course, it's a very big loss for their team. Tomorrow I think his absence will give us a very big advantage. It can inspire our guys to play very good football," the 31-year-old Uzbek player said at the press conference.
"Tomorrow a very interesting game is waiting for all of us. Hopefully we will finish the game with a positive result," the Shanghai SIPG player said.