RIYADH: After his team’s vital 2-0 win over Foolad, Al-Nassr coach Mano Menezes has insisted that his stay with the club was not dependent on success in the AFC Champions League, and that he was looking forward to seeing out his long contract in Riyadh.
Al-Nassr will meet Jordan’s Al-Wehdat on Matchday Five at the Mrsool Park stadium sitting top of Group D on eight points, one ahead of Qatar’s Al-Sadd. A win for the Saudi team will all but confirm progress to the knockout stages, though only group winners are guaranteed a spot, with the five best second-placed teams joining them in the round of 16.
“The match is like a final and winning in it takes us to 11 points, and this number should qualify us for the next round, I think. We have prepared the team to play with the same spirit and determination,” Menezes said in his pre-match press conference.
“We have studied Al-Wehdat well, a team that plays with a defensive block. Tomorrow we will attempt to break down their defensive line, and we don’t know what our opponent’s reaction will be after they lost the chance to progress,” he added.
Menezes pointed out that there was still work to be done with his team despite the positive recent results.
“Winning can cover up many things in the team, but the coach knows what his team’s faults are, and I have enough experience to know that and to work on improving my team,” he said.
The Brazilian coach expressed delight with the reaction of Al-Nassr’s fans, stressing that his contract with the club was a long one and was not linked to the continental performances.
He was also full of praise for goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah, who was called into the starting line-up to replace the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) struck Brad Jones and put in a superb performance in the victory over Foolad.
“In football there are several unique things and today our goalkeeper made the difference. We are happy with what he did, and he was the star of the match,” Menezes added.