Al Jazira boss Henk ten Cate rounds on 'really stupid' critics after ACL setback

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Al Jazira boss Henk ten Cate (l) during the draw with Tractor Sazi in the 2018 AFC Champions League.

Enraged Al Jazira boss Henk ten Cate rounded on the “really stupid” critics who demand he “continuously work miracles” after a squad ravaged by injuries, suspensions and internal problems could only draw 0-0 with Iran’s Tractor Sazi in the 2018 AFC Champions League.

Victory was required on Monday by the Pride of Abu Dhabi to strengthen hopes of making the knockout rounds for the first time since 2004. But they could not find a way past struggling opponents, who came in without a goal or point from Group A.

“We are disappointed, of course,” said the ex-Barcelona and Chelsea assistant, who has claimed the 2016 President’s Cup and 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League at Jazira. “I thought we would take three points.

“We had too many players not really in the game. That is why we didn’t win – it is very frustrating.

“On the other hand, given the circumstances with players available, I think it is a good result. We cannot continuously work miracles.

“People on television say I constantly change as I want to leave the club. This is not true.

“I have to work with the material I have available.

“If you are paid to be on television to give your opinion, maybe you should follow the club your opinion is about. Then you will realise your remarks are really stupid.

“We do everything possible to win games and get the best team on the field. Unfortunately due to different circumstances, and I don’t want to mention them again, we cannot always win.

“I am really, really angry about this. I gave this club two-and-a-half years of my life.”

Ahead of next Tuesday’s reverse fixture in Tabriz, Jazira sit second in their pool. They are level on four points with Wesley Sneijder’s Al Gharafa, whom they beat last month to end a 15-match winless streak in the competition.

It looks likely to be a shootout between those two sides – who meet in Doha on April 3 – to progress, alongside leaders Al Ahli Jeddah of Saudi Arabia.

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