Iraq coach Srecko Katanec is confident that his players are fully committed and will give their everything in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2019 in the United Arab Emirates.
The coach also opened up on his group stage opponents and believes Vietnam and Yemen will be their biggest threats. The Slovenian was appointed at the helm of affairs four months ago and has since built up the squad to come into the tournament as one of the favorites. Fox Sport Asia reports.
“I don’t talk about chances because football is a very strange game. It has been just four months since I have been with them. But what I know is that they are a very happy group and they are fully committed,” he said in an interview with AFC’s official website.
When quizzed who would be the most difficult opponents for Iraq, who have been drawn alongside Iran, Yemen and Vietnam in one of the hardest groups in the tournament, he named the latter two sides as ‘difficult matches’.
“Look, these days every match is difficult. Why? Because you can have a bad day and lose what on paper should have been an easy match. That is why I respect all teams. For me, as a coach, the more difficult matches are against Yemen and Vietnam. They are also here to show they belong. They will fight. We will fight. Nothing is easy.”
He was then asked what does he think of Iraq’s chances in the continental showpiece, he said, “Many people and even journalists ask me if Iraq will win the Cup. All I can say is that I am here to do my best. About the results?
“Well, it depends on a lot of things. Also luck is very important. You never know how some young players will react to certain situations. It’s a game of pressure. Sometimes players from the bench prove more important than players who start the game.”