Dalic in talks to cool down Nigerian striker Emenike
has staunchly defended Emmanuel Emenike, asking Al Ain supporters to give the under-fire striker time to prove his worth, insisting it is not easy to replace their departed Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan.
Emenike has been heavily criticised for his performances since this summer’s one-year loan move from Fenerbahce despite scoring four goals in seven matches, including two in August’s 4-2 Super Cup victory against Al Nasr.
The Nigerian, who replaced the prolific Asamoah Gyan, was jeered by sections of the Al Ain support as he was substituted in Friday’s Arabian Gulf League encounter with Al Jazira. Al Ain, the defending champions and currently top of the table, won the match 2-0. However, Dalic insists he has full confidence in Emenike.
“The last game we won Emenike was part of our victory. For me, he played very well, did a great job, but only missed scoring a goal,” the Al Ain coach said. “Maybe it was Emenike’s best performance for me. I know everyone expects more goals, expects him to be a replacement for Asamoah Gyan. As I told you on his first day, it’s not easy to replace Gyan.
“I cannot be happy with the reaction of some people. We won, we played fantastic and some people criticised Emenike. Please, our fans, be patient, give time, give everyone a chance, to me, to my team, to Emenike. It’s not easy, but we didn’t deserve this reaction, especially after the Jazira game. It was very bad.
“I understand our fans always want a fantastic performance, always five goals. It’s not possible. Please, support our team and our players will play better. In the last game, in front of 15,000 people, my players were fantastic. I expect it to always be like this and they support our team.
“If somebody needs criticism, criticise me, not my players. Because I put him in the team, I put him on the pitch, I will take everything on my back. But give support to my players.”
Al Ain have been the season’s early pacesetters, taking full points from six of their seven league matches thus far. Last month’s 2-1 defeat to Al Wahda, in which Emenike scored, represents their only defeat in the league this campaign.
Dalic said he expects his side to continue to fight for top spot until the league stops on December 26 for its winter break.
“We have six games until the end of the first part of the season. We have to be together, keep calm, keep peace in the team and try to take maximum points from everyone,” he said. “After the first part finishes, there will be the transfer window and everything will be open.
“I will give my report about everyone. But now we need peace, to be calm and keep everything right. Now we don’t need an accident, any fight, any problem and I will try to do my best that we stay together, be compact and give support to each other.
“Since the beginning of the season, we took the Moroccan Super Cup, our Super Cup, we win six games in the league. I think we cannot do more. I’d like to see who could do more. My players have done a great job so far. We deserve only support.”