Ismaily's Algerian coach Khaireddine Madhoui said his side will only play for a win when they meet Ahly on Thursday, highlighting the advantage of facing the reigning champions in their opening Egyptian Premier League game.
"Ismaily is a big club that will only play to win against Ahly," Madhoui said in an interview with Ismaily's official website on Tuesday.
"Facing Ahly in the opening match is useful as it will push the players to be in their top mental state.
"We have a plan to stop Ahly's danger as it's a strong team with good players," he added.
Ismaily briefly challenged Ahly for the league title last term but faltered at the crucial stage of the season. They eventually finished as runners-up to earn an African Champions League spot.
Madhoui, who took over in May following the departure of Portuguese Pedro Barny, said he was disappointed a domestic crowd ban that has been in place in the past few seasons has not been lifted yet.
"I hoped that the fans will attend the game as they always motivate the players to deliver their best," the 41-year old coach added.
"I faced Ahly before while I was in charge of Entente Sportive de Setif in the African Super Cup and we won the title on penalties. I also met their new coach Patrice Carteron when he was coaching TP Mazembe. Carteron is a good coach and it will be a special duel with him.
"I always aim to ease any pressure on the players; facing Ahly is like facing any other team in the Egyptian league. We are missing some key players but we managed to cover for their absence in recent friendly games.
"We benefited a lot from our pre-season training camp … and it will help us produce fine performances," Madhoui concluded.
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