Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic says it's too early to judge his team ahead of Al Ain clash

Denzil Pinto 16:36 09/09/2018
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Yohan Cabaye (left) arrived at Al Nasr in the summer

Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic has urged the club’s supporters to be patient if they want to watch attractive football ahead of their Arabian Gulf Cup clash with Al Ain on Monday.

The Blue Wave were highly productive during the summer transfer window, bringing in seven players including former Paris Saint-Germain and Newcastle United star Yohan Cabaye on a free transfer from Premier League side Crystal Palace. Despite the new faces, Al Nasr got their Arabian Gulf League campaign off to a losing start when they suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Ajman.

Jovanovic’s charges bounced back in the AG Cup though with a 1-0 win over Emirates Club last week. But ahead of a visit to the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, where they take on last season’s domestic league and cup winners Al Ain, the Serb stressed it will take time for his new arrivals to blend as a team.

“Our focus now is entirely on bringing the new players together and seeking to provide enjoyable football that will delight the fans,” said the 56-year-old.

“The first matches of the tournament there are many factors that affect their harmony and the most important is the high temperatures that they are playing in.”

Jovanovic is wary of the threat posed by the Boss and knows his players cannot afford to make the same mistakes they did when they played Ajman two weeks ago.

“We have to be physically good in order to win the game. We have to focus intensively for the full 90 minutes and try and create many goal scoring opportunities. That was something we suffered when we played Ajman,” he added.

“I trust my players and am confident they will give their best.”

For Al Ain, they thrashed Sharjah 4-1 in the first round and while head coach Zoran Mamic admits Nasr will pose a strong challenge, he hopes there is strong support to rally them home.

“Al Ain will enter an important challenge on its first appearance at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium this season and I hope there will be a massive crowd to enhance the ambitions of the players,” said the Croatian, who distanced himself from the UAE national team job on Saturday.

“Last season we achieved a historic double and we deserve strong support because the fans are the most important factor.”

In other games on Monday, Al Jazira visit Emirates with the Pride of Abu Dhabi looking to build on their big 5-2 victory over Fujairah in the opening round. The Wolves, who won promotion last season, welcome Al Dhafra, who will be making their first appearance in the competition this term.

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