AGL: Thiago Neves keen to end winless Al Jazira run

Matt Jones - Editor 23:45 12/09/2015
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Thiago Neves has been involved in all three Al Jazira goals in 2015-16.

Thiago Neves feels both he and Al Jazira have plenty to prove as they head to Sharjah today looking for their first win of the season.

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Jazira lost their opening league game of the season 2-1 at home to Al Wasl three weeks ago, having played with 10 men for nearly 70 minutes.

They led 2-0 against reigning Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain at Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in their opening Arabian Gulf Cup game a week later, before conceding two late goals to draw 2-2.

Brazilian international Neves has been involved in all three Jazira goals scored so far this season, netting in the loss to Wasl and scoring again and assisting Mirko Vucinic’s goal in the cup game.

He knows more is expected of the Pride of Abu Dhabi both from within the capital and throughout the UAE, especially with the legacy that returning coach Able Braga has.

“I wanted to play with Al Jazira. It’s the biggest club here, of course, that’s why I come here,” said the 30-year-old playmaker. “I know the power of this team. When I was at Al Hilal I knew all about Jazira.

“We have a lot of other big players and stars. We just have to prove to everyone how good we are on the field, not just on paper.

“They already proved last year how good they are but I think always Jazira have to prove something. This year we have a new team and coach and we have to prove to him why we (the new players) are here.

“I think the fans know me but I always have something to prove too, so they will see me and I hope we will win for them, and Inshallah I can score and create more goals. I will try to do my best.”

Under his fellow Brazilian Braga, Jazira won three trophies in three seasons, including the Arabian Gulf League and President’s Cup double in the 62-year-old’s swansong campaign in 2011.

They might not have got off to the most auspicious of starts, but Neves believes Jazira have the players to capture a first league title in five years.

“We know the first games are hard because of new players and the heat,” he said. “We are motivated to win the title of course. We know it’s hard to win the league but we have the team and players to do that.”

Neves, who spoke to Sport360 after buying baby clothes at the Jazira club shop on the day it was officially opened, says he and his family are already settling into Abu Dhabi life seamlessly – so much so that Neves is determined to make his unborn son, due later this month, a Jazira fan.

“I have got a new baby coming this month. I already have a five-year-old daughter. So a new one in the next month. He will be a Jazira fan,” he said.

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