Alberto Zaccheroni appeared to signal the end to his tenure as UAE manager on Tuesday night after his side bowed out of the Asian Cup.
The hosts were beaten 4-0 by Qatar in the semi-final at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, to exit the tournament at the last-four stage for the second successive time.
Appointed in October 2017, Zaccheroni's contract with the Football Association ran until the conclusion of the competition. Although no confirmation has come from the governing body as of yet, the Italian is expected to leave his post.
Speaking immediately following Tuesday’s defeat, Zaccheroni said: “Concerning my future as coach, I took charge of the UAE 15 months ago and did my best with the technical staff. The team has gained a lot of younger players due to the hard work of the past 15 months. But our goal was to win the Asian Cup. I signed a contract with the UAE Football Association until the end of the Asian Cup.”
Zaccheroni, 65, had previously won the Asian Cup with Japan in 2011. His record with the UAE reads nine victories from 24 matches, with seven draws and eight defeats. At the Asian Cup, the national team drew two matches and suffered one defeat from five games.
“To reach the semi-final wasn’t my expectation because I wanted to win the Asian Cup," Zaccheroni said. "For me, it’s not a satisfactory result. I took the team 15 months ago, but we didn’t succeed in achieving our goals.
"I’m very proud to have worked with the UAE team. Our objective from the beginning was to win the Asian Cup but we fell short.”