Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Doha: Having already secured the Qatar Stars League in his debut campaign, Michael Laudrup is aiming to be the first ever head coach to lead Lekhwiya to two trophies in a single season - and none would taste sweeter than the coveted AFC Champions League.
Built on an impressive away record in which Laudrup’s side went undefeated in 13 games on the road, Lekhwiya successfully defended their Qatar league crown by finishing five points ahead of fellow 2015 ACL participants Al Sadd.
But Laudrup has no time to rest on his laurels with Lekhwiya still in the hunt for three more trophies, most notably the mission to become only the second Qatari club since Al Sadd in 2011 to win Asia’s premier club competition.
“I am very pleased. It was nice to win the trophy. There have been a lot of challenges, like the amount of players we had away on international tournaments such as the Gulf Cup which Qatar won, the Asian Cup and also the [African] Cup of Nations,” Laudrup reflected in an interview posted on fifa.com.
“We are also in the Asian Champions League and we want to move on from the group stages. The club has never won two trophies in one season, so we can make history this season if we win one more title, either the Qatar Cup or the Emir Cup.
Lekhwiya have only made it beyond the group stage on one occasion when Belgian boss Eric Gerets led them to the quarter-finals of the 2013 competition, where the Qatar champions succumbed to a 6-1 defeat to eventual champions Guangzhou Evergrande.
Should Laudrup lead Lekhwiya through to the knockout stage – a journey that continues on Tuesday with a home clash against Iranian giants Persepolis in Matchday Five of this year’s ACL – and equal or even eclipse the achievement of the current Al Jazira coach, then the 50-year-old Dane’s stock will continue to rise and Laudrup will inevitably become one of the most in-demand coaches currently plying their trade in Asia.
“It is not the moment to make a decision, as we are still playing in three competitions,” Laudrup said of his future.
“When the season is over I will sit down and think it through. I will also listen to what the club has to say, what they will do for the future, as you always have to improve the team. And I also want to listen to the other interested clubs and then make up my mind.”
But for now it is Persepolis and plotting the victory over the Group A leaders that will take Lekhwiya a step closer to a place in the Round of 16 of this year’s ACL that is the focus for Laudrup.