Elmohamady: You can’t do anything except nutmeg sometimes
The former Sunderland defender found game time hard to come by in Gabon before Mohamed Abdel-Shafy’s injury, but has impressed the fans so far this tournament and nutmegged three players in two games, saying “you can’t do anything except nutmeg sometimes.”
“It’s part of the job, you have to do it and as a player you are very proud to play for your country,” Elmohamady said.
“Of course it’s disappointing to miss five or six games for your club, but it’s going to be very good if you go back there having won a trophy – an amazing achievement.
“Before the tournament started the manager [Héctor Cúper] had a long meeting with us, saying that we’re back now and that we’re going there to win it.
“Not going there to play some good games and come back, but going to win. That is the only focus in the group now, to reach the final and win the cup again. For the country and fans in Egypt it’s going to be a massive thing. After all that’s happened in the last few years back home, in football and everything else, these fans want to celebrate again. So we’re looking forward to going through the semi-final, winning the final and coming back with the cup,” he added.
The 29-year-old has also spoke about the Port Said stadium disaster in 2012 and the 2013 coup d’etat, as they were the reasons behind the suspension of the Egyptian Premier League for two successive seasons, describing them as “hard time”.
“It was a big reason for everything. Most of the players in our squad played in Egypt, so it affected both them and the team. The league wasn’t being played and that didn’t help when we met to play qualifying games,” Elmohamady said.
“When players haven’t played in the league, just training, it’s very difficult because games are different. It was a hard time but it’s gone now; in the last few years everything has come back again [since Boxing Day 2013] and there are games every three days, which is good because here we are playing every three days too.”
Elmohamady then spoke about his former manager at Hull City and Sunderland Steve Bruce, the transfer market and his new manager Marco Silva, who has not had the chance to meet the Egyptian yet.
“I see a few faces have gone, like Snodgrass and Livermore, which is disappointing for us because they’re two of our best players and played many games in the last two years. Of course it’s disappointing. I don’t know how it will affect us – of course it will affect us – but we’ve bought some new players too so hopefully we can settle quickly and they can help us stay up,” he added.
“He [Steve Bruce] is a big manager, one of the most experienced in England, and it was very, very disappointing when he left.
“The fans were disappointed, the players were disappointed, but it was to do with the board and you can’t do anything with it. He’s doing a great job now with Villa so I wish him all the best, and I don’t know what is going to happen in the future.
“After Steve left the club didn’t bring a new manager in quickly and left Mike in a difficult situation,” he says. “But they appointed him later and for me he’s a great man – he did a fantastic job with us. He brought two or three players in but at the end of the last transfer window, which didn’t help the team a lot, and he wasn’t given the time to show everyone what he could bring to the club. I wish him all the best, and I think he’ll get another job soon.
“Now we have a new manager and hopefully he can help us stay in the league, which is the main thing now. I’ve heard about different tactics and a new attacking system since he came in, so I hope we’ll get results,” the Egyptian added.
Ahmed Elmohamady lastly spoke about Cúper, who is doing a fantastic job with the Egyptian national team, leading them to the 2017 AFCON final as well as topping group E in the World Cup qualifiers, saying that he is a clever manager.
“He came with a new system, different ideas and tactics, which was difficult for us to adjust to at first,” Elmohamady says. “But he’s a very, very clever manager and got the system into our minds really quickly, which is very tough for a new, foreign coach. You’re usually with the national team for four or five days, play the game and then go back to your club, so it’s not easy, but we settled into things very soon with him and the way we play fits our team very well. Some people say it’s defensive-minded but it suits us and gets results. That’s what you want, whatever system you play.
“When we have the ball, we play good football. We have good attacking players in wide areas like Salah and Trezeguet who can help the team get forward quickly. So this is what we are now, and we’re going fantastically at the moment,” he concluded.
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