Leaders Al Duhail aim to extend winning streak
28 Oct 2017 - 2:54
Al Duhail coach Djamel Belmadi has urged his players not to let the guard down but to maintain the consistent run in Round Six of the QNB Stars League (QSL) when they take on Al Gharafa here today.
“The game won’t be easy because Al Gharafa are a big team despite the fact that they’re in the process of rebuilding the side. Their players have quality, so the match will be difficult. We respect the opponents and will take the game seriously.
“We hope to retain the title, so I hope to avoid defeat in every game. Naturally, we’ll face Al Gharafa with all our strength to achieve our sixth successive victory. They’ve a coach (Jean Fernandez) with great experience. That Al Gharafa are coming off their shock loss to Al Kharaitiyat hasn’t affected our preparations. We’re going full steam ahead and I’ve asked my players not to show let-up,” said Belmadi.
The Algerian rejected suggestions that statistics show Al Duhail are superior to Al Gharafa.
“Statistics can’t really determine the superiority of one team over another. What happens on the field may be totally different,” he said. Al Duhail with an all-win record have 15 points from five matches.
Al Gharafa coach Jean Fernandez said his team will face an uphill task in the clash with Al Duhail.
“We know it’s a difficult task against Al Duhail. They’re the champions and leaders with an all-win record. However, we’ll be desperate to get some points. We’re trying to put behind the disappointment of losing to Al Kharaitiyat by a big margin in the last round.
“We took on Al Kharaitiyat in a confident manner, having registered our first victory in this season’s league, against Al Khor. But things didn’t work our way and we ended up disappointed. We just couldn’t sustain the momentum. All that is past and we look forward to this match. We won’t get overawed by Al Duhail’s status. They’ve some dangerous players and (Youssef) El Arabi is scoring at will. It all will depend on how well we contain their attacks.
“Our defence needs to improve. If you defend well, then you’ve more chances to win. We’ve many positives to draw from our games so far and we’ll try to build on them,” said the Frenchman.
Al Gharafa are sixth in the table with five points.