Al-Nasr Dubai SC manager Benat San Jose says the club are proud to be hosting Arsenal are the reopening of the Al Maktoum Stadium, and he wants to put on a show for the fans.
Arsenal face Al-Nasr in a mid-season friendly on Tuesday, and the manager of the Gunners’ opponents has been speaking to the press about the opportunity to come up against such a well-known club around the world.
“We are very proud to play against one of the top teams in the world like Arsenal,” San Jose said in The National on Monday. “And, also as a coach, I am very proud for this match to be in Al Nasr, because it shows what a big club we are and what a big administration we have that they can bring one such club to play against us.
“And I believe this beautiful and wonderful stadium we have deserves to have a match like this. I want to make our fans proud of our team. We need to be very good tactically and our target is to try to play good football. We must try to complicate things for Arsenal as much as we can and then we will see.”
Not only is the match a good opportunity for San Jose’s team to come up against a big club, but he’s also looking forward to facing up against Unai Emery. Like Emery, San Jose is from Basque Country in Spain, and they’ve both spent time with Real Sociedad (San Jose as youth manager, Emery as a player).
Nonetheless, they’ve never met, so the chance to change that is a bonus for the Al-Nasr boss.
“As a coach, I take a lot of pride to play against Emery,” San Jose said. “It is nice that he is also from the Basque region, so it will be an honour for me to shake his hand. But not only because he’s from the Basque like me, but because he’s a great, great coach.
“He has made an amazing career with Sevilla, Paris Saint-Germain and now Arsenal, and is a fantastic coach. He is a big name back home. So for that, I’m going to be proud to finally meet him.”
From an Arsenal point of view, the main aim of the fixture is to keep the team ticking over and to avoid any injuries. Putting on a show for the fans and getting a result comes secondary to that, though of course, it’s always nice to keep winning matches.