Confident Fossati eyes win as Qatar prepare for Syria test

 11 Oct 2016 - 4:00

Confident Fossati eyes win as Qatar prepare for Syria test
Qatar coach Jorge Fossati (right) and forward Magid Mohammed listen to a question asked by a journalist during a press briefing held yesterday, ahead of their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Syria which will be played at Al Sadd Stadium in Doha today. Picture by Abdul Basit/ The Peninsula

By Rizwan Rehmat  / The Peninsula

DOHA: Coach Jorge Fossati is confident of a Qatar turnaround in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying road to Russia, insisting his team is one win away from regaining lost touch. 
Under-pressure Qatar host Syria in their fourth Asian Zone qualifying match in the last six weeks. Today’s clash takes place at Al Sadd Stadium where the game kicks-off at 7.00pm.
Fossati, who was brought in as coach just a little over a couple of weeks ago, saw Qatar lose a feisty contest 3-2 against Korea on Thursday.
“We have the quality. We have the players to do it. I repeat it will be a tough match but I am optimistic about our performance and that we can take victory,” Fossati said during a pre-match press conference yesterday.
“We cannot change the past but we can change the future,” the former Al Rayyan coach said.
Fossati said Syria team is known for hard tackles on the pitch.
“Tomorrow we have a tough opponent. Their (recent) results speak themselves. They are very strong in physical football. ‎But of course we will try to do our part. We will play with our ideas and strengths,” he said.
“If you heard me in the first press conference, I promised tough work. I didn’t promise results,” Fossati said when asked about expectations from home fans in Qatar who have gone three qualifying games without a win. 
“I understand the excitement and nervousness of people about the result. But I am very very sure that we need to focus only on the game,” Fossati said. 
“We cannot play the game thinking negatively. The ones who know me they know this is the most important game. If we continue to look back, then we will play with extra pressure. 
Fossati said Qatar took the positives from their 3-2 loss against Korea four days ago. 
“We got many positives. I can keep 90 positives from the Korea game. The other 10 things are negative. One of the important things I spoke to the players was that they started the second half thinking too much to keep the partial result,” Fossati said.
Qatar were leading 2-1 at the end of the first half in Suwon.
“In the end the team played worried or afraid. This is something that happens at the  subconscious level. It comes to your head. It is difficult to push those thoughts away. 
“If we analyse the last game from my point of view, the 15 mins of second half was bad phase of Qatar. But the other 75 minutes - considering we were playing a strong Korea side - that was the best phase of Qatar football under my coaching,” Fossati said.
“It is essential that we get points. We need to be strong mentally. Our only focus should be to take a victory,” the Qatar Coach added.
Fossati said his team would deploy a balanced plan of attack and defense.
“I will try to have a side that has balance in defense and attack. It is clear that football have two posts. You need to defend one post and attack the other. Most of the time teams who defend and attack well usually take victory,” he said. 
“It (qualifying) seems impossible but I believe we have seven games. The situation can change, if we continue to look for points,” Fossati said. 
“Don’t misunderstand the situation. Tomorrow is not the end. After tomorrow we will have  points,” he said.
“You (media) know me a long time. From my point of view, match tactics involve distribution of players in the game. If we start differently tomorrow, don’t be surprised,” the Uruguayan coach said.
Qatari forward Magid Mohammed admitted that the game will not be an easy affair.
“I can’t add to what the coach has said. Our situation is difficult. It will be a tough game. They have good players. We have the home advantage. Hopefully we will have a strong performance,” he said.
“The pressure is there but Qatar players have experienced to tackle the situation. It is clear the morale is high and hopefully we will win,” Magid added.