Tehran Times – TEHRAN, Iran national football team forward Sardar Azmoun believes that Dragan Skocic can help Iran qualify for the 2022 World Cup since he is a better coach than Marc Wilmots.
The Croatian coach replaced Wilmots in early February after the Belgian left Iran for his unpaid salary.
Iran have a tough task ahead at the 2022 World Cup qualification after suffering two defeats against Bahrain and Iraq under coaching of Wilmots. After back-to-back appearances in 2014 and 2018, the aim now is to secure a third consecutive participation for the first time.
Iran have reached the World Cup on five occasions.
The Persians sit third, five points behind Iraq in in Group C.
“I think we can book our place at the 2022 World Cup because Skocic is a better coach than Wilmots,” Azmoun said in an interview with Iran’s state-run TV.
“We talked to each other before the Coronavirus outbreak and I understood he has a winning spirit. It’s a pity that Iran sit behind Iraq and Bahrain in the table. I hope we return to top of the standing with support of our fans,” he added.
“Wilmots has gone and it’s time to forget what he has done in our team. Iran will definitely return to their good days with this good guy,” the Zenit forward went on to say.
“In the match against Iraq, I didn’t realize what was my role was and wanted to be substituted in the 70th minute. I had to play against five defenders, I am not Messi or Ronaldo who dribble past several players and score. During the time of Carlos Queiroz, I knew that what my responsibility was. He wanted me to help the team in defense and not allow the opposing team to score,” he stated.
Azmoun was heavily criticized by the Iranian fans after he failed to score at the 2018 World Cup.
“As I’ve said, I was forced to help our defenders and I could not score. I ask the critics if can they run the length of the field twice? They don’t know anything about tactics and I think they are jealous of me. But I have to say, I am proud of myself for being among Iran’s top five goalscorers,” Azmoun concluded.