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Maradona cautious on Al Wasl's prospects

09-14-2011 08:09 BJT

Argentina great Diego Maradona played down expectations he could lead Al Wasl to the United Arab Emirates league title at the first attempt.

Al Wasl's head coach Diego Maradona of Argentina puts his arm around club chairman Marwan
Bin Bayat during a news conference in Dubai, Sept 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

In a city used to bombastic promises, Maradona would not predict how his team would fare with Al Wasl opening the season in a cup tie against league champions Al Jazira of Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

"We will be very careful against a team that we know a lot about," Maradona told a news conference in Dubai on Sunday ahead of his first competitive game in charge of the city's Al Wasl F.C.

"They (Al Jazira) have the advantage that they have been playing together for longer than us. We have our tactics so can hurt them. We are not going to be totally defensive."

Al Wasl finished a distant sixth, 22 points behind Al Jazira last term in the 12-team Etisalat Pro-League.

Al Wasl's head coach Diego Maradona of Argentina looks at a jersey given to him by club
chairman Marwan Bin Bayat during a news conference in Dubai, Sept 11, 2011.

Maradona will be hoping new signings Uruguay's Juan Olivera and former Bari midfielder Mariano Donda can help them qualify for the Asian Champions League.

"We are not talking about being champions, we are talking about going step by step, improving day by day," said the World Cup winner.

The ever colourful Maradona also warned he would try to protect his players from any rough tactics.

"I want everyone to treat me with respect. I am not a violent person, but if they want to have an issue with me... If you try to put a finger in my eye, I will put two fingers in your eyes," he said.

Al Wasl's head coach Diego Maradona of Argentina gestures during a news conference in
Dubai, Sept 11, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

"If you play tough, if you injure my players, I will complain. I will jump. This is how I am made and this is how I will die."

Ghana's Asamoah Gyan joined Al Ain on loan from English Premier League outfit Sunderland on Saturday to become the latest high-profile player in the UAE league but Maradona thinks the UAE national side will continue to struggle.

"It is tough for them - after seeing them play, you don't feel confident," he said. "I think that UAE ... is a team that has to improve a lot if they want to reach the World Cup finals."

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: China Daily

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