New UAE coach Alberto Zaccheroni is not interested in the Whites’ failure to reach the 2018 World Cup and insists the disappointment of missing out on Russia can be alleviated by targeting success at the 2019 Asian Cup.
The Italian veteran was unveiled as Edgardo Bauza’s replacement at the UAE Football Association headquarters in Dubai Tuesday and immediately focused his attention on the next Asian Cup, to be held in the Emirates in 15 months’ time.
Zaccheroni, 62, the former AC Milan, Internazionale, Lazio and Juventus manager, has been tasked with delivering continental glory and building on a best-ever finish at the Asian Cup in 2015, where the Whites impressed and finished third.
There is a cloud hanging over the international team currently following their failure to reach Russia, while the fallout of Argentine Bauza’s shock defection to Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia following just ?? months in charge is also still being felt.
But ex-Japan coach Zaccheroni is focusing only on the future.
“I have to concentrate on the future, not what happened in the past,” said Zaccheroni, speaking at his unveiling Tuesday.
“As the president said it’s a very big and important challenge for everybody, so we need to collaborate together in order to achieve this.
“Clearly this is my responsibility as the coach, as well as the players to do our best, so that people can change their mind away from the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup.
“It’s not easy now to talk about our ambitions for the Asian Cup but the most important thing is to be competitive.
“In order to do this we have to construct a new technical project. When I get the players together and talk to them, then I will have a clearer idea of this project.
“The UAE team has a talented team of players capable of achieving good results. This will only be achieved through performance and teamwork. I will do my utmost to achieve the best results at the Asian Cup in 2019 and ensure we will be stars in this tournament.
“I try to work with technical side because the physical side of things, that will be the job of the players’ clubs to devise. And from today I will look at how to apply this tactical approach.
Zaccheroni, who led the Samurai Blue to 2011 Asian Cup success in Qatar and won the Serie A title with Milan in 1998/99, admitted he was unfamiliar with his new players but said he had been impressed by them in a 1-0 friendly loss to Japan while he was coach in September 2012.
“I saw them in videos and some of them when we played a friendly game against them in Japan. We won 1-0 and I saw that they have very good players and they played a good game,” said Zaccheroni, who also revealed he had heard good things about his new charges from Japanese people during his four years in charge.
“When I was in Japan, most of the people there talk very well about the United Arab Emirates.
“I try to transmit my ideas to the players so they play using my philosophy and so they can show their qualities. But I cannot give them a philosophy which they are not able to apply themselves to.”
Zaccheroni was not in the immediate picture to replace Bauza as recently as last week, with the UAE FA last week pursuing a three-man shortlist thought to include former Portugal supremo Paulo Bento, Peru tactician Ricardo Gareca and Morocco’s ex-Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard.
Zaccheroni reportedly rejected an initial offer from the UAE FA but revealed negotiations on a 16-month deal with an option to renew progressed rapidly.
“I’m not the sort of coach that has my agent approach teams to ask about jobs,” he said.
“I like to go where they want me and luckily the UAE FA called me and I accepted immediately and there was no long negotiations to agree a contract.”
Italian Alberto Zaccheroni is set to take the reins of the UAE national football team as a successor to Edgardo Bauza.
Our football reporter Matt Monaghan is not too optimistic about Zaccheroni’s appointment and explains why it’s a “boring” decision in the latest episode of UAE Spotlight.
Watch the video above and sound off in the comments section if you agree or disagree with Monaghan.
Former AC Milan, Lazio, Juventus and Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni undertook final negotiations in Dubai with the UAE Football Association on Sunday as the hunt for Edgardo Bauza’s successor drew towards a conclusion.
Zaccheroni, 64, rejected an initial offer last week but landed in the Emirates late on Saturday night after a breakthrough was made on talks to lead the Whites on home soil at January 2019’s Asian Cup.
A desire to imminently name a replacement saw first-choice picks Ricardo Gareca of Peru and Jorge Luis Pinto of Honduras ruled out in the preceding days because of their commitments in next month’s inter-confederation play-offs – and then potentially the summer’s World Cup 2018.
If discussions reach a positive conclusion, the Italian will return to work for the first time since he was sacked by Beijing Guoan in May 2016 after two wins in nine games amid their worst-ever start to a Chinese Super League-campaign. Zaccheroni made his name at Udinese and Milan in the late 1990s, claiming the 1998/99 Serie A-title with the latter.
His only previous international post came with Japan. He won the 2011 Asian Cup, but resigned in the wake of a disappointing group-stage exit at World Cup 2014.
Zaccheroni has been drafted in by the Whites because of Bauza’s shock defection to Russian qualifiers Saudi Arabia last month, following just three mixed competitive matches in charge.
With no place earned at next year’s extravaganza, Zaccheroni will be judged by success at the following continental event. UAE FA president Marwan bin Ghalita has publicly targeted a run to the final.
The Whites squad will gather once again in early November. A friendly against World Cup entrants Egypt has been mooted.
Meanwhile, one Italian could be set to depart the UAE after Al Nasr’s Cesare Prandelli was linked to the vacant Scotland post.
The Daily Mail stated on Sunday that the ex-Azzurri tactician is interested in exiting the Blue Wave after only five months in charge.