Dubai: Rodolfo Arruabarrena has challenged his players to be prepared for loads of hard work in the future if they are to pitch themselves as genuine title contenders for the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) this season.
Al Wasl scored once in each half through Caio Canedo and Fabio De Lima while Abdul Aziz Baradda pulled one back as the Cheetahs got bragging rights over arch-rivals and neighbours Al Nasr in third round action of the AGL late on Friday.
Al Shabab are at the summit of the 14-team AGL table with a maximum nine points, while Al Wasl joined defending champions Al Ahli and Al Ain in the upper half with six points apiece.
At 41-years-old, Arruabarrena — who took over Al Wasl at the beginning of the season — was prepared to temporarily celebrate such a landmark victory for his team. “But when we return to training on Monday we should all remember that the game was worth three points, and we need to go on picking up as many points as possible during the rest of the season,” Arruabarrena said.
“This is a derby, and to have a celebratory response from players and fans is normal. What matters to us are the three points we got. I am happy because the fans are happy. But I also know that Al Wasl can give much more in the future. After we return to training we should be thinking about our next opponent,” the former Boca Juniors and Villarreal left-back insisted.
The young Argentinian, who has endeared himself to his players and fans in a short spell, further said that the hard work would continue unabated. “I know we are capable of doing much better. And if we want to be at the top then we need to think that we have even harder tasks ahead of us. We should not think that our work is done with this one win. If we think like this then we will reach nowhere. We need to have this frame of mind that our work has only just begun. It has been just three months and there is a lot more hard work ahead of us,” Arruabarrena said.
Meanwhile, Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic blasted the referee’s performance. “I thought the referee was not ready to officiate at such an important game. I believe we didn’t deserve to lose. His [referee Abdullah Al Ajel] first decision was overruling his own decision on the penalty after consulting the fourth official who was at least 50 metres away, and the second decision was when he didn’t give us a certain penalty after Jonathan Pitroipa was brought down,” Jovanovic complained.
“In football mistakes happen, but someone will have to explain to us why such decisions were taken, and all of them against us. Whether the decisions were wrong or right, in the end we have lost the game. As Al Nasr, we deserve a lot more respect from these people. Maybe this loss will affect us in the next few matches,” he added.
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