Rostov-on-Don, June 19 (IANS) Saudi Arabia chief coach Juan Antonio Pizzi promised his footballers would do everything possible to put the 0-5 defeat his side suffered against Russia in their opening FIFA World Cup game behind them when they face Uruguay on Wednesday.
Defeat to Uruguay would send the Saudis home from the World Cup, but speaking in his pre-game press conference, Pizzi stressed the importance of his side giving a different image on the pitch, reported Xinhua news agency.
“I have confidence that my players are going to play a great game and will try and beat Uruguay. We have other priorities as well: we need to recover our capacity to compete … it is the only way to play football and that is the first thing we will focus on tomorrow,” he said.
“We have an opportunity to forget a performance and result which weren’t what we were aiming for,” he added.
Pizzi was unwilling to comment on criticism of the Saudi team from the Director of the Saudi General Sports Authority, Turki al-Sheikh, who accused the players of “giving just 5 per cent.”
He was asked if the agreement which saw three key Saudi players, Salem Al-Darsawi, Yahya Al Shehri and Fahed Al-Muwallad spend five months in Spain, where they played less than 100 minutes between them had seen them lose match fitness. Pizzi insisted the accord had been “positive” as they had learned “tactically and other issues” from the experience.
We think it is a good route for the Saudi league have taken to promote the experience for Saudi players and I hope they continue doing so, because I think it will be reflected in the performance of the players and the national team,” he commented.