Ahly skipper Emad Meteb says there are no rifts among his teammates ahead of Thursday's Egypt Super Cup match in the UAE, and insists that defeat is acceptable against a big club like Zamalek.
"There isn't a split inside Ahly. We didn't hear these words before," Meteb said in a press conference in the UAE ahead of the curtain-raiser.
Following their first unsuccessful season since 2004, Ahly management axed manager Fathi Mabrouk and appointed Abdel-Aziz "Zizo" Abdel-Shafi as caretaker manager until the Super Cup.
They later announced the signing of Portuguese coach Jose Vitor dos Santos Peseiro, who has previously managed the club.
Mabrouk claimed recently there is a split in the club, with the big stars getting special treatment. "There is a reason we saw Ahly players losing their fighting spirit," he said.
"Weak people blame their mistakes on others and don't take responsibility," Meteb has said in response.
The Super Cup title represents Ahly's only hope of silverware this year after watching Zamalek win the league and cup.
"Zamalek will be difficult especially as they won both the league and cup. We congratulate them for that. The team [Ahly] is under pressure as we aren't accustomed to losing trophies," the 32-year old attacker Meteb explained.
"I hope Ahly players find their fighting spirit in the Super Cup match. Zamalek is a big club and losing against them is no shame."
"Me, Hossam Ghaly, Hosssam Ashour and Sherif Ekramy had a meeting with the young players to motivate them ahead of Thursday's match. They are all determined and focused on getting a positive result," the international concluded.
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