UAE boss Alberto Zaccheroni is focused on his side’s do-or-die clash against India at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Group A game on Thursday at the Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
The 65-year-old does not want to leave any margin for error and will ensure that the hosts get back on track as they seek Asian Cup Glory.
“My focus is on the game against India and to deliver the best performance and satisfy the UAE fans. My confidence in the players is very big. I will do my best to deliver the best result. My main objective is to win the Asian Cup,” the Italian said.
"The India team played a distinguished game in the first match,” Zaccheroni said. “They played against a strong team, but they scored very well. We had a meeting with the players after the game against Bahrain where we showed India’s strengths and weaknesses.
“It will not be an easy game - there is no easy game - but the UAE will be ready. The FIFA Rankings do not matter to me. We respect the India team, but I have full confidence in the players that tomorrow (Thursday) they will play very well, that their performance will be very good.”
There have been speculations about Zaccheroni’s future as the UAE head coach. The Italian's contract runs until the conclusion of the Asian Cup and Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic is rumoured to be his replacement. The former Japan national team coach, however, dismissed these claims.
The Whites got off to a poor start in the Asian Cup as they were held 1-1 by Bahrain in their Group A opener. Their performance in the game drew plenty of flak and the Italian coach was apologetic.
“As a coach, I have more than 35 years of experience – I don’t care about such stuff,” the Italian said on Wednesday. “We know that we failed our fans and we apologise to them. We all hoped to win to satisfy the fans.
“But our focus now is on the game against India. I have enough experience. Yes, we know that in football we can hear a lot of things said outside of the pitch, like in Italy where they have three newspapers dedicated to football,” the coach said.
"Tomorrow’s (Thursday) game will be a make-or-break game,” the Italian added. “From my side, as a coach and the players, we will do our best to win. We know we will face difficulties, but I have full confidence in all the players.
“There will be a lot of passion and desire to win. More than in the first game. We will try to change the image of the team that played against Bahrain.
"I’m convinced the UAE played very well against Bahrain, especially the first 30 minutes. We will change that image and give a good image in the next game.”