'Surprised' Tite glad to be back in UAE

The Brazilian is relishing leading Al Wahda's title defence of the Pro League starting with their derby match with capital rivals Al Jazira.

ABU DHABI // Sacked and jobless since October, Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, popularly known by his nickname, "Tite", starts on his new job fresh and with ambitions of leading Al Wahda's title defence of the Pro League. The 49-year-old Brazilian signed a one-year contract to succeed Laszlo Boloni, the Romanian, who was fired after three games, hours after he led Wahda to their first points against the promoted Kalba last Wednesday.

"I have had a few job offers in Brazil with Vasco and Goias after I got the sack from Internacional, but they were not attractive and I decided to take a break," Tite said when he was introduced to the media at the club last night. "To be honest, the Wahda offer came as a bit of a surprise. And I am glad to accept the offer and return to the Emirates in [just over] three years. I had a good stay in Al Ain in 2007 and looking forward to working with Wahda."

Tite's first match will be against Al Jazira in the capital's derby, and he will come face-to-face with another former coach of Internacional, Abel Braga. "I am aware of my first task and I also know Braga, who was at Interncional before me," Tite said. "My first task is to know the players. I have done a little bit of homework, and it is the same team of last season except for Pinga, the Brazilian midfielder.

"There are two Brazilian players, one is Magrao, whom I know pretty well. They can help me in knowing the players and that would be my first priority. We have until September 16 to prepare for the next game, and we start work immediately." He said he would conduct his first practice with his new club today. Tite enjoyed some success at Internacional, leading the Porto Alegre club to the Copa Sudamericana championship in 2008 as well as the Suruga Bank Championship in 2009.

He was dimissed by Internacional on October 4 last year. The club went on to win the Copa Libertadores, the South American continental championship, and will play in the Fifa Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi in December. Al Ain dispensed with the services of Tite after a poor string of results when they were sixth in the 12-team domestic table and out of the Asian Champions League-qualifying and the President's Cup.

But the former Gremio, Corinthians, and Palmeiras coach said being sacked is part of the job in the football world. "It is hard to win trophies when there is a strong and balanced league," he said. "Speaking of my past experience in the UAE, I believe the competitions are stronger than the previous years. I have yet to talk with the club management on our priorities, which we will do during this week.

"The league is important and so are the other competitions, particularly the Club World Cup, in which the club management want the team to make a good impression. "We will work out these priorities but my first game is the most important at the moment. "My focus will be to balance the team, in both attack and defence. This is the way I would like to work and approach the competitions. "I am lucky to inherit a pretty good side. I know they are a very good side team with several national team players."

apassela@thenational.ae