Ardiles plans 'dangerous' soccer at Betar

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Swindon coach spoke passionately about his plans to mold a team capable of taking the Israeli Premier League title.

New Betar Jerusalem manager Ossie Ardiles said he intends to bring a "dangerous and aggressive" style of attacking soccer to the club, as he was officially presented to the press on Wednesday. The former Tottenham Hotspur and Swindon coach spoke passionately about his plans to mold a team capable of taking the Israeli Premier League title, and said he would not be averse to employing the controversial diamond formation at Betar. "Last year we finished in third place and now we want to finish in first place," Ardiles stated at the press conference held at the David Citadel Hotel in the capital. "We are very happy to be in the UEFA Cup, but of course we would like to be in the Champions League. So this will be a very important season for us, and we are going to do everything possible to achieve that." Ardiles, who was part of Argentina's World Cup winning squad in 1978, announced that Argentinian Emilio Comosso will be joining the club as an assistant coach and will work alongside current coach Guy Azuri. Comosso assisted Ardiles when he managed Argentinian Primera Division side Racing Club in the 2002/2003 season. The new Betar manager, who has not worked since leaving Japanese club Tokyo Verdy in 2005, also revealed that he had already spoken to the man he is replacing, French coach Luis Fernandez who stayed at the Jerusalem club for less than a season. "I played with Luis Fernandez at Paris Saint Germain in 1982. He was the only one who spoke Spanish so we immediately had a friendship. He helped me a lot... He was just starting out but he was a wonderful player. "I talked with him yesterday and we had a very long chat. We talked about the club. He told me to be careful with the press here." At the start of the conference Betar chairman Vladimir Shklar said he was "very excited" to be sitting alongside Ardiles. Shklar also noted that he had held talks with many of the club's young stars about signing new contracts, including Amit Ben-Shushan, Aviram Bruchian and Barak Itzhaki, who are all expected to stay at the club. Talented midfielder Maor Melikson is, however, likely to leave. Since Ardiles agreed to join the club Betar has opened negotiations with a number of players, including former Hapoel Tel Aviv captain Shimon Gershon. Ardiles said he had given the club permission "to sign as many Israeli players as possible." "To be perfectly honest, they [the Betar management] know the Israeli players much much better than me." During his first managerial job at Swindon Town in England Ardiles was successful with an innovative attacking diamond formation, which utilised four forward players. However, when he attempted a similar experiment while manager at Tottenham in the 1993/4 season with five attacking players it failed, and Spurs finished in a dissapointing 15th position before Ardiles was sacked a few months into the next term. Despite this, Ardiles said he would not be adverse to bringing back the system at his new club. "I certainly believe it is possible," he said. "Football is the most beautiful game in the world and I believe it should be played in a dangerous and aggressive manner. "Pele and the Brazilian 1970 team, the best team I have seen in my life, played with five players up front. They were world champions and they were wonderful. So I think it can be done. Of course we have to be careful... The balance has to be right. But it could be done." The Argentinian, who answered all questions in English, said he had watched videos and DVDs of the current Betar squad while in his Dubai hotel room before flying to Israel and said he was "pretty happy" with the squad he has. He confirmed that Frenchmen Fabrice Fernandes and Jerome Leroy would be staying at the club, but he is also looking at bring in three foreigners in - a defensive midfielder and two strikers. "I believe that for what we want to achieve this season the two front players are absolutely crucial. So we are looking. I wouldn't say we are in negotiations right now but we are trying to make certain who these people will be."