Egypt star Mohamed Salah has some choice words for critics of oft-maligned Pharaohs manager Héctor Cúper.
Despite reaching the final of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and helping guide Egypt to its first World Cup finals appearance since 1990, some fans rue what they see as a negative approach that often sees the team lack possession and scoring chances; a style they are unaccustomed to after the attack-minded years of former coach Hassan Shehata.
“The results he’s gotten is the answer to any of the criticisms he receives,” Salah said in an interview with Egypt’s OnTV.
“Qualifying for the African Cup after three times in a row not qualifying. Then going to the final. Then qualifying for the World Cup. So there really isn’t much to say on the subject. The results speak for themselves.”
Adding fuel to critics’ fire is Cúper’s poor winning percentage ever since his more successful early years as a manger, when he took Spanish side Valencia to back-to-back UEFA Champions League finals.
To Salah however, neither that nor style of play matter.
“When you play a game do you want to entertain, or do you want to win? I respect the previous generations, who entertained us with their football, but [Egypt] didn’t reach the World Cup.
“I see the numbers and results as far more important than playing a certain way,” he added.
“I agree we should play good football, but who says we don’t? Against Portugal we played a very good game. Yes, we lost in the final minutes, but it was also a new experience and a new test for us.”
Not only does the Liverpool talisman think Cúper has done his job, he thinks the Argentine tactician has more up his sleeve at the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
“I believe our national team can achieve something. I don’t know why so many people say we’ll just play three matches and come home. We’re 23 players, a coach, and a technical staff that have high aspirations,” Salah declared.
Egypt will take on Kuwait Friday without Salah’s services, as he’s due to compete in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid.
The team will also be without Aston Villa fullback Ahmed Elmohamady and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed ElNeny for the friendly, both dealing with nagging injuries.
The Pharaohs then play June friendlies against Belgium and Colombia before kicking-off their World Cup campaign June 15 against Uruguay.