February 5 – Iran coach Amir Ghalenoei has denounced sections of the country’s media for having previously criticised the team after guiding them to the semi-finals of the Asian Cup.
Ghalenoei took charge 10 months ago for a second stint having led the Iranians to the quarter-finals of the competition in 2007.
This time they have gone one step further after they beat Asia’s top-ranked side, Japan, on Saturday.
The 60-year-old, who replaced Carlos Queiroz, is unbeaten in 16 matches but despite this had been criticised last year when Iran took part in friendly competitions such as the Jordan International Tournament and the CAFA Nations Cup.
“Everybody should have belief in Iranian coaches. We have a lot of good Iranian coaches who couldn’t make it to Europe because of Iran’s political situation,” Ghalenoei told reporters. “During the last 11 months, Iranian media criticised us when we participated in the Jordan International Tournament and the CAFA Nations Cup.
“But you can see from the eight teams in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup, five teams were from that tournament. Three teams from those tournaments reached the semi-finals.
“I’m not saying criticism isn’t good, but some people tried to ruin the national team in the last 11 months.”
Iran will face Qatar in the Asian Cup semi-final.
“Before the knockout stage many people suggested that we should change our path to the final (to avoid top teams in the Asian Cup), but we were brave enough to play with everybody. We beat every team until this stage,” said Ghalenoei.
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