United Arab Emirates (UAE) head coach Alberto Zaccheroni has apologised to “the fans and leadership of the country” for his team’s exit from the AFC Asian Cup 2019 and signalled that it could also be the end of the road for him at the helm of the Emirates national team.
The former Inter Milan and Juventus manager took charge as the head coach of the Whites in October 2017 and his team has failed to impress despite reaching the final of the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup and the semifinals of the Asian Cup.
And speaking after the 4-0 drubbing to regional rivals Qatar in the semifinals, the Italian coach admitted that his stint with UAE could be over. “I apologise to the fans and the leadership of the country. We tried to make everyone happy but failed. We tried our best but couldn’t produce a positive result,” said the coach.
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“I take full responsibility for the loss and defend my players who played with great spirits and gave everything on the pitch,” said the Italian during the news conference after the semifinal.
“I admit that tactics used at the start didn’t pay off. I tried to change but it didn’t pay off,” Zaccheroni added.
Zaccheroni, who guided Japan to the Asian Cup title in 2011, also addressed uncertainties regarding his future as the UAE head coach.
“Concerning my future as coach, I took charge of the UAE 15 months ago and did my best with the technical staff. The team has gained a lot of younger players due to the hard work of the past 15 months. But our goal was to win the Asian Cup. I signed a contract with the UAE Football Association until the end of the Asian Cup,” he said.
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“To reach the semifinal wasn’t my expectation because I wanted to win the Asian Cup. For me, it’s not a satisfactory result. I took the team 15 months ago, but we didn’t succeed in achieving our goals. I’m very proud to have worked with the UAE team. Our objective from the beginning was to win the Asian Cup but we fell short,” said Zaccheroni in what sounded like a goodbye to UAE.