Damien Hertog optimistic as Al Jazira face Emirates Club looking to end winless run

Sport360 staff 17:30 09/05/2019
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Al Jazira head coach Damien Hertog is optimistic his team will produce a much better performance when they face Emirates Club in the Arabian Gulf League.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi make the long trip to Ras Al Khaimah for Friday’s clash as they look to register their first triumph in three matches and put their AFC Champions League qualification hopes back on track.

After describing their display as unacceptable in last week’s 3-1 defeat to Al Wahda in the Abu Dhabi derby, Hertog expects Jazira to play their best football against Emirates, who are battling once again to avoid the drop.

“Last week, we committed mistakes against Al Wahda and I said before that shouldn’t be the level of football we should play at,” said Hertog during the pre-match press conference.

“We have to put on a much improved performance this time because winning gives everyone confidence and belief and that will help us for the remainder of the season.

“We know how important this game is for us. We have lost twice and drawn once in our last three matches and if we want to reach the AFC Champions League, then we have to start winning. Our target is to claim all three points and we don’t want nothing less than that.”

Jazira have slipped to third in their recent poor run. Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club are six points ahead in second, while Sharjah look to have the league title sewn up.

The team that finish third will enter the 2020 Champions League qualifiers and the Abu Dhabi outfit are a point above outgoing champions Al Ain and their cross-city rival Clarets.

They will be without long-term absentees Ahmed Rabea, Mohamed Jamal as well as Fares Juma through injury for Friday’s game, while star striker Ali Mabkhout misses out due to suspension.

While Hertog is fully aware of the threat posed by the Falcons, three points above the relegation zone, he wants his team to keep a clean sheet.

“Football is a team game and that is defending and attacking as one,” said Hertog. “I hope we don’t concede any goals because it’s been a long time since we achieved that.”

Cameroon midfielder Sebastian Siani insists the players are determined to showcase their quality again and help Jazira reach next season’s Champions League.

“We haven’t won in three games but we are eager to end that bad run of results,” said the 32-year-old. “It will not be an easy game but we will give our best to win the match and help Al Jazira reach the AFC Champions League.”

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