Olaroiu takes Guardiola's advice with Al Ahli stars on UAE duty

Matt Jones - Editor 00:16 13/03/2016
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  • Cosmin Olaroiu has taken inspiration from Pep Guardiola.

    Cosmin Olaroiu will use the advice of Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola as he contends with nine of his Al Ahli players being away with the UAE national side.

    The Arabian Gulf League takes a brief hiatus as Mahdi Ali’s Whites play Bangladesh in a friendly next Friday before two crunch World Cup qualifying games with Palestine and Saudi Arabia at the end of the month.

    Nearly half of Ali’s squad comprises of players from the current AGL leaders and Olaroiu hopes his charges will return to Rashid Stadium following the international break unscathed.

    The Romanian revealed after the Red Knights’ 2-1 victory against Al Shabab on Friday that he had been reading former Barcelona coach Guardiola’s book ‘Pep Confidential: The Inside Story of Pep Guardiola’s First Season at Bayern Munich’ to get an insight into how the Spaniard dealt with his star players
    being away with their various national teams during his debut campaign in Bavaria.

    “What can we do. They have their national duty,” said Olaroiu.

    “Today I was reading one book of Pep Guardiola’s, his first year in Bayern. He was most concerned when the players go to the national team because there they are there seven or eight days and change the way they train.
    “They change their dream and when they come back they are a bit affected, but it depends how many days we have before the next game.”

    Right-back Abdulaziz Haikal, who was the Red Knights man-of-the-match against Shabab, is one of the Ahli players called up by Ali and he leaves for international duty with some positive words from his club coach ringing in his ears.

    “He is the best right back in the Emirates,” said Olaroiu.

    “The only problem he has and from when I came here I tried to talk with him, is his concentration during the game. If he concentrates and is focused on what he has to do, I don’t think anyone can play in front of him.”

    Olaroiu, the 46-year-old former Al Ain coach, can at least comfort himself in Saturday’s victory, which took Ahli back to the top of the table, a point ahead of the Boss, with five league games remaining.

    “It’s important,” Olaroiu said of going into the break top of the table.

    “First it’s important we play good. Second it’s good we stay in first place. I hope it gives us more confidence. I hope the national team players come back good and we continue on our way.”

    However, if Ahli are to wrestle the AGL crown from Al Ain, they will have to do it the hard way, with four of their remaining five games against the Boss, Al Nasr, Al Jazira and Bani Yas.

    “The players will take a few days’ rest then we start preparations for the end of the season as we have very tough games,” said Olaroiu.