Despite their poor form, Al Gharafa are keen on pursuing their target of a top-four finish at the QNB Stars League (QSL) hoping for a turnaround from setbacks when they host Al Arabi in their Round 8 clash today.
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They are reeling at 7th position with as many points from just two wins and a draw, as they lost four matches, a disappointing show by their own standards.
Their Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder is on the sidelines due to an injury while Portuguese Diego Amado is also out due to suspension. Adding insult to injury, Al Gharafa were shocked by Al Kharaitiyat, who registered a 2-0 win last week to register their first win of the season.
“We are suffering from the absences and it undoubtedly affects any team. At the same time, it will give opportunities to other players, especially youngsters. We are trying to rectify the mistakes that we have made. We will definitely find solutions to them,” Al Gharafa coach said ahead of Round 8 clash against Al Arabi.
“All is well with the team despite some negative results and the management is very supportive of us. There is no problem with us off the field. Our problems are on the pitch. We are in a difficult stage.
“We need to play with determination and make less mistakes. The onus is on our youngsters to grab the chances with both hands,” he said before informing about the return of goal-keeper Yousef Hasan from injury.
“Diego Amado cannot play due to suspension. So is Wesley Sneijder with an injury. Ahmed Alaaeldin was back in training, but is a doubtful starter. It’s good that goalkeeper Yousef Hassan has returned from his injury. It has boosted the confidence of the team,” he said.
Al Gharafa coach said finishing inside top four was possible for his team.
“Our ambition is to be in the top four, but now, we aim to provide a good game to regain the confidence. We have to get into our style and fight our way back into the tournament,” said Gourcuff.
Meanwhile, Al Arabi was also targeting a victory against under-strength Al Gharafa.
“We will try to get back to winning ways with a victory against Al Gharafa. At the same time, Al Gharafa had lost in their last three games and may come hard at us. We must be wary of them,” said coach Luka Bonacic
“We have to get back our winning mentality. We hope to put up our best. We must be prepared for all scenarios. I can make physical and tactical changes, but I cannot change the mentality of the players. We play one or two games very well, and then fare badly in one or two games,” he said.
Bonacic also urged his players to remain focused.
“We lose concentration sometimes. The ups and downs are difficult to handle. But then, we must be ready for them. The best teams survive the downs,” Al Arabi coach said.
“It was not easy in the beginning as we had made many changes from last season. We are trying to improve our game and our ambition is top four,” he said.
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