Interview by Farrokh Hesabi

Foolad not allowed to make mistake against Al Hilal: Majid Jalali

February 21, 2023 - 19:16

TEHRAN - Iranian football expert and former coach of Foolad team, Majid Jalali, believes that the Khuzestan-based team should avoid any mistakes against their rivals in the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League.

Foolad kick-started their AFC Champions League knockout campaign with a win against Saudi Arabian Al Faisaly 1-0 on Monday.

The Iranian side will face another Saudi Arabia side Al Hilal in Doha’s Al Jonoub Stadium on Thursday.

“Foolad played well and earned a good win,” said Jalali in his interview with Tehran Times.

“Foolad didn’t enter the game against the Al Faisaly in their best form. In fact, Javad Nekounam’s side aimed to make up for their poor form in the domestic league, where they are struggling to keep pace with their rivals. So, they needed to focus on getting the result in the one-off match against the Saudi side. I think they did it in the best way possible,” added the former coach of Foolad.

The reigning champions from Saudi Arabia saw off Shabab Al Ahli of the UAE 3-1 in their last-16 tie at Qatar's Al Janoub Stadium, as they chase a fifth continental title.

Speaking about Foolad’s match against Al-Hilal, Jalali said: “The most important thing is that they should perform their result-oriented tactics again, but with the highest concentration. Players should avoid risky movements against the giants and should do their job with no mistakes. Taking these issues into account, Foolad have chances to beat their powerful rivals, however, it’s a very tough job.”

Nekounam resigned from his post after the game, declaring no apparent reason for his decision.

“Nekounam is a talented young coach”, Jalali shared his view in this regard.

“To be an excellent coach at the highest level of football you need character, knowledge along with experience. I think Nekounam’s reaction is because of his lack of coaching experience in the high level of football. He was a great player and for being a magnificent coach he needs more experience of working under overwhelming pressure,” he concluded.

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