Zamalek's new coach Alex McLeish (Photo: Courtesy of Zamalek's official Facebook page)
Newly-appointed Zamalek boss Alex McLeish criticised his players' 'mentality' after conceding the second goal against El-Entag El-Harby, saying he was shocked with the second-half performance in his side's 3-1 league defeat on Thursday.
McLeish, only appointed a few days ago, did not enjoy the best of debuts at the Zamalek helm, having seen his side handed an embarrassing defeat at the hands of a 10-man Entag.
Despite enjoying a numerical advantage throughout the second half after Entag defender Loay Wael was sent off at the stroke of half-time with the scoreline 1-1, Zamalek failed to find the net as they eventually suffered two further goals.
"I'm very shocked, I'm shocked to see the second-half performance from the players," McLeish told ON TV satellite channel after the game.
"They got nervous after we had been dominating the game before. We had two great chances to take the lead, and we did not take them. I'm surprised that we lost these goals. I'm very surprised with the players in the back four.”
Zamalek were particularly unlucky in the second-half, with both Mahmoud “Kahraba” and Zambian striker Emmanuel Mayuka – who headed his side's equaliser after going one goal down – frustrated by the woodwork.
"When I came I didn't say we will win the league but said we can win the league. We'll have to make improvements. I think I know what I need but I will have to discuss it first with the club president and the board,” McLeish said.
"We have to make many, many improvements. I have to do some work with my defence. I couldn't do everything in one week, but now we will be working with the defence.
"I will concentrate on the players I have now. I will need to take advice from the recruitment people who look at the players. I will work hard to have a solution [before Sunday's game].
"I'll go home and watch the game again and I know I will find things to teach the players to be better. They have to be better than that. I think I can make them better.
"We got good technical players, but we had to show a tougher mentality. The mentality was not good tonight, only after the second goal, the mentality wasn't as strong as it should be for a Zamalek player."
Second-placed Zamalek, who are now six points adrift of leaders Ahly, take on Arab Contractors on Sunday.
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