Arabian Gulf League club Al Nasr have denied reports claiming manager Ivan Jovanovic is set to be sacked.
Since his appointment in June 2013, Ivanovic, 54, has led Nasr to the 2014 GCC Champions League title, the President’s Cup and Arabian Gulf Cup double in 2015, and most recently into the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League last month.
The Dubai club have begun the 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League badly, with Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Al Ain stretching their run to three defeats from their past three matches. As it is, Nasr have only three points from a possible 12, while they have lost four of their past six fixtures in all competitions.
It represents a worrying trend, since the Al Maktoum Stadium side were tipped by many to challenge for at least a top-three finish this season. They have undoubtedly been hit hard by last month’s Asian Champions League exit, when they had to forfeit their quarter-final first-leg victory against Qatar’s El Jaish after striker Wanderley was ruled to be using a falsified passport. He has since been suspended.
Given their poor run of form, reports in the Arabic media have suggested Jovanovic could be sacked, claims Nasr have refuted.
“Al Nasr Club denies the news circulating about the sacking of Mr Ivan Jovanovic, the manager of the first team,” the club wrote on their Twitter account.
After Sunday’s defeat to Al Ain, Jovanovic called on his players to prove their quality, saying: “We’ve had bad results in the last games in the league, but I cannot lose my faith in my players — I believe in them always.
“Of course, with what happened in Champions League, all these two months something is there, but this is not an excuse. We’ve a very good team and we need to show something better to the people who come to the games. We need to respond better as a team.”
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport