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Steven Gerrard's start to life as Al Ettifaq manager hasn't gone to plan in pre-season

Steven Gerrard's start to life as Al Ettifaq manager hasn't gone to plan in pre-season

Al Ettifaq have so far failed to record a win in pre-season under their new manager.

Steven Gerrard extended his winless run to three games on Monday evening after Saudi Pro League side Al Ettifaq fell to another disappointing pre-season defeat.

The 43-year-old former Liverpool midfielder, who was handed the role as Al Ettifaq head coach on July 3, has already taken charge of a trio of pre-season games ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.

After falling to a 2-1 defeat against Croatian side Varazdin in his first outing as manager, the Saudi club could only rescue a 1-1 draw against Hungarian outfit Zalaegerszegi on July 20.

Gerrard must have been hoping for a better performance on Monday against Croatian first division side but his wait for a win continued as Blaz Boskovic gave Lokomotiva an early lead after just eight minutes.

Perhaps more encouragingly, Al Ettifaq did enjoy more possession and shots against their opposition, managing eight attempts on target, but they still suffered a 1-0 loss in Sveti Martin, Croatia.

Al Ettifaq, who finished seventh in the Saudi Pro League last season, will be hoping the signing of Jordan Henderson will boost their chances in the coming months.

Henderson is set to join Steven Gerrard in the Middle East after he underwent a medical in Manchester on Friday.

The 33-year-old will reportedly sign a contract worth around £700,000-a-week, according to the Daily Mail, who suggest Henderson has already said his farewells ahead of travelling to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

As well as the England international, Al Ettifaq want to sign Lyon striker Moussa Dembele this summer.

In fact, Dembele – a forward that was once strongly linked with a move to Manchester United – has reached an agreement in principle to sign with the Saudi club, according to Fabrizio Romano.

"There are still some details to sort after Henderson deal almost completed but Dembele is really close to joining Saudi league," Romano tweeted.

Scotland international Jack Hendry, who plays as a defender for Belgian club Club Brugge, is also set to join Al Ettifaq, say widespread reports. He will undergo a medical in the coming days.

After joining the club as manager this month, Gerrard opened up about his decision to become Al Ettifaq boss.

"When I went to Saudi I got a real family feeling. It made me actually feel welcomed," he said.

"There are three things I always consider in order -- it needs to be right for my family first and foremost. We have to be excited and motivated by the challenge.

"Secondly I think the football project needs to be ambitious, it needs to be for the right reasons, and then of course you need to feel secure with the contract, but this comes at the very end."

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

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Featured Image Credit: Getty - Twitter/Al-Ettifaq

Topics: Steven Gerrard, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Pro League