Al Jazira can take plenty of positives from Fifa Club World Cup, says Marcel Keizer

The Pro League champions bowed out of competition with a win and two defeats

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Al Jazira manager Marcel Keizer believe his players can take a lot of positives from the three matches they played at the Fifa Club World Cup.

Jazira, the reigning Adnoc Pro League champions, made a perfect start against Oceania representatives AS Pirae of Tahiti by winning their opening game 4-1 before suffering a 6-1 defeat to Asian champions Al Hilal in the quarter-finals and a 3-1 loss to Mexican side Monterrey in the fifth place play-off.

“We were very fortunate to play on a world stage when it was decided Abu Dhabi would host the Club World Cup, because it doesn’t happen all the time,” Keizer said after Wednesday's match against Monterrey.

"For my players it was very good opportunity to play against high-level teams, especially the game against Al Hilal, which was very good, even though we suffered a heavy defeat.

“They punished us on the small things and that’s something our players can learn from. We could have played better but they are much more than the level we are.

“That’s a big lesson to take forward, especially for our younger players to learn from the experience of playing at this level. I think they can be a better team after this tournament.”

Keizer had five of players returning to the squad immediately after a 2022 World Cup qualifying double-header against Syria and Iran, and also had to contend with a few injuries that prevented some of them, particularly leading scorer Ali Mabkhout, from playing the full campaign.

“Injuries and fatigue are not unusual when we have to play in a different competition, especially at this level, in the middle of the season,” the Dutchman said.

“We knew it was going to be very hard (on the players) and we had to shuffle some of them across the three matches. However, it was a great opportunity for our players, particularly the younger ones to get the opportunity on the world stage.”

Updated: February 10, 2022, 6:09 AM