Mediocre display no concern for below-par Ahly

Ahram Online, Friday 7 Feb 2014

Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef says bagging all three points was more important than putting in a fine display following his side's 1-0 hard-fought win over Ghazl El-Mahalla

Ahly defeated Ghazl El-Mahalla 1-0 in the Egyptian Premier League on Thursday (Photo: Ahram)

Another disappointing display in the Egyptian Premier League failed to ring the alarms bell in Ahly's backroom staff, with coach Mohamed Youssef insisting he is not focusing too much on how his side perform.

The defending champions recovered from back-to-back defeats to claim a hardly convincing 1-0 home victory over Ghazl El-Mahalla on Thursday.

The win only came through a second-half penalty from playmaker Abdallah El-Said, with an Ahly side missing some key players through injuries struggling to break down a dogged defence.

"Beating Mahalla and claiming all three points was more important than our display," Youssef, who led Ahly to the African Champions League title last year, said on the club's official website.

"It was very important to win after two successive defeats. This is what matters most for us."

Ahly are finding it difficult to find an adequate replacement for talismanic playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika, who retired last year following the club's disappointing Club World Cup campaign in Morocco.

They are also suffering from some slack defending, with the ageing Wael Gomaa, who was sent-off against Mahalla for his second red card in as many games, struggling to match the space of his fresher opponents.

Some youngsters were given a chance to showcase their talents amid the absence of the likes of Walid Soliman, Emad Meteb and Ahmed Fathi but forward Amr Gamal was the only player to catch the eyes, scoring three goals in seven appearances.

"We need to be patient and give the young players time to adapt to the team and give their best," Youssef added.

Despite their below-par performances, Ahly are still leading Group A of the Premier League with 15 points, ahead of second-placed Arab Contractors on goal difference.

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