Luis Jimenez: In the goals and leading Al Nasr’s Arabian Gulf League charge

Luis Jimenez has spearheaded Al Nasr’s fine start to the 2015/16 Arabian Gulf League season, scoring four goals as his new club have opened with three successive victories to top the standings. He spoke before Nasr travel to Sharjah on Sunday.

Luis Jimenez has started his Al Nasr career in fine form, scoring four goals to help the club top the league table. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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Luis Jimenez has spearheaded Al Nasr’s fine start to the 2015/16 Arabian Gulf League season, scoring four goals as his new club have opened with three successive victories to top the standings. He spoke before Nasr travel to Sharjah on Sunday.

CUP SPECIALISTS TARGETING LEAGUE

Nasr lifted both the President’s Cup and Arabian Gulf Cup last season, but have shifted focus to landing a first top-flight title in 30 years. The Dubai club remodelled their foreign contingent extensively this summer, signing Jimenez from Al Ahli, Jonathan Pitroipa from Al Jazira, Jires Kembo Ekoko from Al Ain and Nilmar from Brazil’s Internacional. All but Nilmar have scored in the league this season.

ON NASR’S AGL AMBITIONS

“We are looking for something special this year,” Jimenez said. “Last year we took two trophies so now we have a base. For sure, the target is to achieve something better than last year, so we are in a good way. We are balanced in defence, midfield and attack, with good local players and four foreigners up front, so I think we can enjoy this season.”

ON NASR’S ATTACKING THREAT

“In this league, you usually only find three teams — Al Ahli, Al Ain and Al Jazira — who look to take the game to their opponents. The other teams put 11 players behind the ball. Players like Jires Kembo Ekoko, Jonathan Pitroipa and even Jamal Marouf give us good solutions. They can change the game in any play.”

ON HIS GOALSCORING FORM

“I am happy, but also lucky. Normally, I like to give the ball for assists. In this league, maybe only Al Jazira striker Mirko Vucinic can win games on his own. But for the other teams, their power is in the group. Al Nasr know this situation and we all work together.”

ON NILMAR’S GOAL DROUGHT

“When I arrived here, the first two or three months were very difficult. I came from Europe, where I had my best season, but arrived here and it was tough. I spoke to [Al Shabab’s] Carlos Villanueva and he said that, when he first came here, until January everyone spoke badly of him. But you need time. It’s impossible to arrive here and make the difference. I am sure with time and better weather, Nilmar will be a good player for us.”