Al Jazira's Ali Khaseif celebrates holding the President's Cup.
abu dhabi - Dutchman Ten Cate hails team's mental strength after President's Cup triumph
Al Ain were the better team but it was the Al Jazira players' will power and a 'special' effort from custodian Ali Khaseif that saw them through in the battle for the President's Cup glory, said manager Henk ten Cate on Sunday night.
"It was a very tough and tense match, and the weather was also difficult.
"First half was pretty even and in the second half Al Ain were the better team. But we had Ali Khaseif and if someone deserved to win this Cup it is him. He was very special," Cate said at the Press conference held in Zayed Sports City Stadium.
All through the finals, Al Ain midfielder Danilo Asprilla's forays into the Al Jazira goal were thwarted by an acrobatic Khaseif. The goalkeeper also blocked Asprilla's penalty shot.
Going into the penalties, Cate said he was in a positive frame of mind.
"I was pretty confident because in almost all the Cup games we went to penalties. The team are safe in this scenario. I was shocked to see Ali Mabkhout miss the first penalty."
Hailing the mental strength of the team, he said: "This team got so much will power that it is capable of bouncing back from. like a deception. It's the mentality of the team. a team with real spirit."
"Even if you have maybe less quality than your opponent. Al Jazira this year were a difficult team to beat. They have proved it over and over again."
The Dutchman was happy that supporters have finally got something to cheer about.
"It's been quite a while since we have won something. And now everybody can be again proud of Al Jazira Football Club."
He concluded by making his aversion clear for such conferences, especially after grabbing a title.
"To be honest I don't like doing press conferences after matches like this. I prefer to go out there, take a small drink and celebrate with my players."
Meanwhile, Al Ain manager Zlatko Dalic said it was 'bad luck' for his team but he was 'very proud' of his players.
"They did a good job but we missed many chances. And in penalties, sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. But always you have to be a gentleman."
He thanked Al Ain fans for their support and apologised for the loss.
"This is football - tomorrow's a new day, a new challenge. We dominated the full game - physically, tactically and technically. Al Jazira gained from our mistakes. Also when you miss so many chances you end up losing games."
On his players failing to convert on so many occasions, he said: "My players dominated, did everything, but missed a second goal. This is football, sometimes it happens like this."
On being asked that apart from Moroccan Super Cup there were no big trophies in the cabinet, he added: "My team were competitive in all competitions unlike others who just played one or two tournaments."
"It's not easy to be focused every fourth day," he added.
Goalkeeper Ali Khaseif is congratulated after the final of the President’s Cup match on Sunday night. — Photo by Nezar Belout