Young Pakhtakor side will only get better after early AFC Champions League exit, says Huistra

The Uzbek side, quarter-finalists last year, were unable to register a win in their first five games of the campaign, consigning them to a group stage exit in a match that saw chances from Dragan Ceran and Ashkan Dejagah wasted as both sides were unable to break the deadlock, having drawn 3-3 in the reverse fixture earlier this month.

"In the end it was a disappointing result, I'm still proud of my players for the way they played today," said Huistra.

"It is quite simple; after the 2020 AFC Champions League we lost so many good players to other clubs, so we are here with a different group of players. Last year we had a good balance in our team, this year we had to go for young players.”

Pakhtakor had to make do without the talents of talismanic winger Jaloliddin Masharipov who is currently at Shabab Al Ahli Dubai on loan from Al Nassr FC and they also lost Dostonbek Khamdamov to UAE’s Al Nasr and Igor Sergeev to Kazakhstan’s Aktobe FC.

"It is my job as a coach to work with what I have, to coach and develop them, for me this is the most interesting aspect of my job. In top level football like the AFC Champions League, things are tight.

"Next year we will come better prepared if we retain this group and develop them more."

 

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