Abu Dhabi: Al Ain coach Quique Sanchez Flores’ future was still in the balance after his side won their Asian Champions League clash 2-1 against Qatar’s top side Lekhwiya at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.
The presence in the stands of Flores’ rumoured successor, Zlatko Dalic of Croatia, was a clear indication that his job is still under threat.
The Spaniard also revealed in the post-match press conference that his future with the club was uncertain.
There was no official confirmation on the matter from Al Ain at the time of going to press on Thursday.
With the hosts struggling in the Arabian League in eighth place, very few Al Ain fans had expected a favourable result. But the team produced a fine display to beat a formidable Lekhwiya 2-1.
“I worked at Al Ahli for 20 months to win the President’s Cup and here I have worked only five months and taken Al Ain to the final of the same competition. I can’t do magic,” said Flores afterwards. “I’m a normal coach and I can only work over a period of time to produce results. It is now up to the club to make that decision, but until then I will continue with my work as before,” he added.
The coach was of the view that his charges were pumped up for the ACL clash and wanted to prove a point after their struggles in the local league.
“This is how the human brain works. The ACL is a new competition and it is easy to get the players motivated than in a competition where the chances are pretty low. The preparation for this game was like for the President’s Cup,” Flores said. “The players know they have a chance to win a trophy. It doesn’t surprise me because these players have the quality to face any team.”
Ebrahim Diaky, who put Al Ain in front before Asamoah Gyan added the second after the visitors struck the equaliser through Vladimir Weiss, dedicated the win to Flores.
“He didn’t put any pressure on the players and that’s what we went out there and achieved.”
After the match, opinion was divided among Al Ain fans as to whether Flores should stay with the club he joined last summer.
“He was not able to get the best out of the players in the league and that’s why the team management wants him to go. Frankly speaking, I was also very upset with him but today the team performed really well and they were in the game throughout. Now I feel we should hang on to him for a while at least,” said Ahmad Al Jabri after the match.
Another staunch Al Ain supporter, Ali Al Hamadi, said: “I think we have an experienced bunch of boys and even if Flores goes, it will not matter much. Today’s result has certainly surpassed my expectations. Even if they intend to change the coach, I hope they get someone really good.”