United Arab Emirates coach Mahdi Ali warned his players Wednesday not to rely too much on sparkling midfielder Omar Abdulrahman in the Asian Cup clash against Bahrain.
Abdulrahman, whose frizzy mop of hair has similarities with Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini, but whose play is more reminiscent of Barcelona’s Neymar, starred in UAE’s opening Asian Cup 4-1 thrashing of Qatar.
The silky playmaker looked dangerous throughout, showing trickery and imagination as the Emiratis came from a goal down to run out clear winners against their Gulf rivals in Canberra on Saturday.
A win against Bahrain on Thursday would all but see UAE progress to the quarter-finals from Group C. Ali expects 23-year-old Abdulrahman to shine again — but he called on every player to do their bit.
“Of course Omar is a talented player, he’s one of the main players in the team,” Ali told reporters.
“I was very happy that he played 90 minutes against Qatar because he has come back after one-and-a-half months out injured.
“But we are playing as a team and Omar is a member of the team. For him to be doing his best and showing all his qualities and abilities he needs support from the team,” the manager added.
Bahrain must get something from the match if they are to have any chance of making the knock-out stages after losing 2-0 to Iran in their first game.