Hadi Mahdavikia says Iranian clubs lack professionalism

TEHRAN, Dec. 28 (MNA) – Former Persepolis winger, Hadi Mahdavikia, thinks the Reds lost at the Asian Football Confederation Champions League's final match due to a lack of professionalism.

He also believes that this is of the main problems of Iranian football that has caused the country’s teams to fail at international competitions during the previous years.

In an interview with Tehran Times, Mahdavikia said that the players should not be blamed for their mistakes at the final match of the 2020 AFC Champions League (ACL) as they lost to South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai 2-1, in Doha, Qatar.

“Due to the experiences that Persepolis had gained from the 2018 ACL final match – which they lost against the Japanese’s Kashima Antlers at final- I thought this time they would play with more self-confidence and would have won the trophy. By what happened at the game, I can say that Persepolis played well and had the chance to win the match, and there were not many differences between the two teams’ levels,” said the retired 41-year-old player.

“To be fair, when you look at the Persepolis lineup at the final, it was not the best of the team. Their key players, Vahid Amiri and Ehsan Pahlevan, were not with the team due to suspension, and Shoja Khalilzadeh had already departed the club.

“The fact of the matter is Persepolis suffer the lack of the highest level of professionalism, which is a must for being successful at the international stages. It is a problem of the whole Iranian football, not just a club or two,” he added. 

“For example, we need professional sports psychologists to work with the teams in some main areas such as working with individual players to raise their personal performance, or to work with groups of players in a team to make sure that they are working effectively as a unit. It could help the players to stay calm and cool at the crucial moments of big games. Persepolis lost the match due to two individual mistakes. We should not blame the players for those mistakes; rather, it is exactly related to what I mentioned as a lack of professionalism,” the former Persepolis winger added. 

“When two players miss such an important game like a final match due to receiving red and yellow cards in the semi-final match, and when the officials of a club like Persepolis let a key player like Khalilzadeh leaves the team, it shows that Persepolis and the Iranian teams suffer lack of professionalism,” Mahdavikia concluded.

Interview by Farrokh Hesabi
MNA/TT

News Code 167748

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