Man City seek soul-searching in Abu Dhabi
Manchester City squad
Manchester City arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday for what promises to be an intense soul-searching mission rather than a relaxing, warm-weather break.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men were woeful in losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal on Sunday, leaving them five points behind English Premier League leaders Chelsea.
They flew to the UAE straight after that dismal defeat — and their misery was compounded by the fact that rare grey skies and rain greeted them on their arrival here.
The defending EPL champions will hope to recapture their best form in training — they are holding a session at the Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday afternoon — and in a friendly against Hamburg at Al Ain’s Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium at 7.30pm on Wednesday.
The match against Hamburg is being held to commemorate the first anniversary of Al Ain’s state-of-the-art home, where City beat the Garden City club 3-0 in a friendly last May.
Blues boss Pellegrini said he was delighted to return to the UAE, home of City owner Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs.
He said: “We played in the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in May and experienced a wonderful occasion as we celebrated our Premier League title win. It’s a fantastic stadium and we are delighted to be able to return. The game against SV Hamburg promises to be another exciting one and we are once again looking forward to playing in front of our fans in the UAE.”
On Monday, it was all about the Blues’ women, who as part of the agreement with Aabar will receive a range of match-day advertising at their new 7,000-capacity Academy Stadium.
Aabar will also brand Manchester City’s Community Pitch at the recently opened City Football Academy in the heart of east Manchester.
Manchester City Women’s team, who won the Football Association’s Women’s Super League Continental Cup last year, arrived in Abu Dhabi last Wednesday to prepare for the new Women’s Super League (WSL) season
Nick Cushing’s side will also take part in knowledge-sharing exercises, facilitated by Aabar, involving the UAE Women’s National Team. These will include four coaching clinics ranging from tactical, football and physical aspects led by coaches and players from Manchester City Women’s FC. Aabar’s logo will also be featured on the Blues’ training gear for the duration of their stay.
Commenting on the partnership, Chief Business Officer for Manchester City, Tom Glick, said:
“Manchester City Women’s FC are continuing to grow both on and off the field and today’s announcement of a new partnership with Aabar, a global company with an outstanding reputation, is evidence of this. Our women’s team are extremely proud to have the opportunity to visit Abu Dhabi and see first hand the fantastic local support that Manchester City has across the United Arab Emirates.
“We look forward to preparing for our new season alongside Aabar and hope to share successes together over the coming years’’
“Aabar Investments is delighted to extend its support of Manchester City to include Manchester City Women’s Football Club, in line with our commitment to empowering female athletes here in the UAE and globally,” added Khadem Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Aabar Investments. “We are especially proud to be able to use our relationship with MCWFC for the benefit of the UAE Women’s National Team.”
The investment company, a subsidiary of the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), continues its support of MCFC, including City Football Schools, Manchester City’s network of international Academies.
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