Hector Cup was typically realistic after leading Egypt to a World Cup place for the first time since 1990, hinting that beautiful football is not always the right formula for success.
The Argentinean came under fire from many Egyptian fans for what they believe his overly-defensive approach, with the Pharaohs criticized for some uninspiring displays despite reaching the Africa Cup of Nations final early this year.
However, Cuper let football do all the talking as Egypt reached next year’s World Cup finals in Russia with one match to spare in Group E, snatching a dramatic 2-1 home win over Congo in a nerve-jangling clash on Sunday, thanks to a brace from Mohamed Salah including a last-gasp penalty.
“Football is not easy as many people think; and the views of a coach are always different from the views of the fans,” the former Inter Milan and Valencia boss said in an interview with ONSport TV following the match.
“I know that some people want us to score more goals and avoid the kind of situations where we are under pressure but football is not always like that. We have to be realistic … my approach might be wrong but this approach helped us reach our target at the end.
“We may play better attacking football but who can guarantee that we will achieve our targets this way? For me, it’s all about beating your opponent and fulfilling your targets,” he added.
Cuper will become only the third coach to lead Egypt at the World Cup after Scottish James McCrae, who was in charge of the team at the 1934 tournament, and Mahmoud El-Gohary who was at the helm when they made their last appearance in 1990 in Italy.
“I will lead Egypt at the World Cup except if the Egyptian Football Association decided to bring in Pep Guardiola,” the 61-year-old quipped.
“I will leave tomorrow if the EFA thinks I’m not the right man for the job, but I’m very happy with the support I get from the fans here.”
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)