Bani Yas coach Garcia demands improvement

Published August 20th, 2015 - 01:52 GMT

Bani Yas coach Luis Garcia has issued a rallying cry to his charges, urging them to achieve a better Arabian Gulf League position than last season and cup success in the new campaign.

Garcia concedes his side, who finished eighth in 2014-15, cannot compete for the title given the spending power and quality of defending champions Al Ain and fellow heavyweights Al Jazira and Al Ahli.

But the Spaniard, whose men begin their 2015-16 AGL campaign away to newly promoted Al Shaab on Thursday, insists improvement is essential.

“I don’t want the same league position [as last year],” he said, speaking through a translator. “Everybody is stronger and we need to up our level. We can’t compete with Al Ain, Al Jazira and Al Ahli, but we are in a group below with Al Nasr and Al Wahda.

“In the cups, we need to up our level. Last year we had bad luck and lost some cups. But I think this year we can do well in them here and in the Gulf Champions Cup [GCC Champions League].”

The Spaniard admitted he ‘didn’t have enough information’ about Thursday’s opponents Al Shaab, given that they played in the league below last season.

All he is concerned about is his side, however, with three points and a good performance paramount.

Garcia said: “It’s an important first match for us and we will try to play very well.”

He went on to stress the importance of the club’s fans’ backing, calling them ‘number one’.

Garcia, who was speaking at the unveiling of the Abu Dhabi club’s five summer signings, is still on the lookout for new foreign blood. He said he wanted a left winger to the bolster his forward line, with one overseas slot remaining, following the recruits of midfielder Mark Milligan and strikers Joaquin Larrivey and Ishak Belfodil.

They join Spanish playmaker Joan Verdu at the club, but his days appear to be numbered after Garcia said he also wanted to buy a left midfielder.

Meanwhile, Thursday’s opponents Al Shaab have been prolific in the transfer market, securing 12 players — nine Emirati and three foreigners.

The Sharjah outfit are back in the top flight after a year’s absence and will rely heavily on the experience of French striker Michael N’Dri, while they will hope for flair and goals from their Chilean attacking midfielder Matias Donoso.

He joined the club in the summer along with fellow foreign buys Celios Santos, a Brazil-born East Timor international, and Egyptian midfielder Amr Al Sulaya.

In Thursday’s other game, Bani Yas’ Abu Dhabi rivals Al Wahda face another promoted side, Dibba. However, Javier Aguirre’s men will be without star signing Jorge Valdivia, the Chile midfielder yet to arrive in the UAE after only finishing his contract with Brazil’s Palmeiras on Monday.

The former Arsenal midfielder Denilson is expected to play, however.

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