CAIRO: Winning the Egyptian Premier League is not one of Henri Michel s main objectives this season, the French coach said on Tuesday.
Zamalek suffered their third defeat in six league games after losing 1-0 to Ismaili at Military Academy Stadium.
It was also the second successive loss under Michel, who took over at the club following the sacking of Swiss tactician Michel Decastel.
Many Zamalek fans hoped their team would finally end their league drought, having won their last title in 2004, after signing several stars in the close season.
But Michel s task is somewhat different.
I did not promise the club s board of directors that I will steer Zamalek to the league title this season, Michel told a news conference.
My main objective is to build a good Zamalek team who can compete for honors.
The White Knights, who are seventh in the table with seven points, were made to pay for the first-half dismissal of sweeper Hani Saied against Ismaili.
They also hardly created goal-scoring opportunities despite the presence of talented playmaker Mahmoud “Shikabala Abdel-Razeq, who once again put in a disappointing display to cast doubts over his chances of earning an Egypt call-up before next month s World Cup qualifier at Zambia.
Saied s red card dearly affected us tonight, Michel, who returned for a second stint with Zamalek having managed the team in 2007, added.
We also failed to create clear-cut chances but I aim to make the most of the league break to improve Zamalek s displays.
The league will be halted during the duration of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will take place in Egypt from Sept. 24 to Oct. 16.