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McLeish speaks about Zamalek, Mortada Mansour and Martin Jol
Scottish manager Alex McLeish, who was recently appointed as Zamalek’s new coach, talked about his first impression about the White Knights , Al Ahly’s new manager Martin Jol and dealing with Mortada Mansour.
“My first day was full of press talks, that’s probably because Zamalek is one of the biggest clubs in Africa and The Middle East,” McLeish told BBC Arabia Radio. He added that one of the reasons why he decided to accept the club’s offer was because he saw himself working with this team and adding his experience to it.
When asked whether he watched a match for Zamalek before or not, McLeish told BBC Arabia Radio that he watched the team’s last match against Ittihad of Alexandria. “I will also watch a few previous matches in order to be able to evaluate the team.”
The 57-years-old coach mentioned that he used the internet to follow Egypt’s national team results in the African Championships, as well as Al Ahly and Zamalek.
“I only saw 70 minutes of the match, but I saw some stuff that I will be working on. I’ll keep my first impression after watching the team for myself and I’ll talk about it with the players and technical staff,” he added.
McLeish said that he is used to work under pressure after he was asked how hard it will be for him to coach Zamalek, knowing that three previous managers coached the team this season. “Working under pressure is part of the game, the fans always want you to win,” he explained. “When I was leading Glasgow Rangers I managed a strong team that consisted of first-class players from Germany, Holland, England and Scotland. Pressure was huge.”
Zamalek’s new coach said that his solution to that will come from his past experiences dealing with similar teams and handling English Premier League clubs that needed to survive from relegation.
“This is one of football’s coincidences, you’re against each other in one championship and then you’re against each other in a different championship far away from England or Holland,” he expressed his thoughts regarding facing Al Ahly’s new coach Martin Jol. “I respect Martin Jol but I want to win. The whole thing is a big challenge for both of us.”
Finally, he concluded by speaking about Mortada Mansour, saying that he felt that he is a friendly guy who loves the club. “It was nice of him when he said that he will leave anything related to football for me because it is my specialty.” “I would like us to work together in a proper way and achieve together something for Zamalek.”
McLeish will lead Zamalek in their upcoming league game against Entag El-Harby on Thursday, March 3.