Brighton & Hove Albion winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh was pleased to make a goalscoring return to international action with Iran, and feels the future is looking bright for his country with a new coach at the helm.
Jahanbakhsh scored the opener in a 5-0 win over Syria on Thursday, to secure a first victory under Marc Wimots, ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against South Korea in Seoul.
He said, “It was a great game; it is always tough to play against Syria, and we had a good performance.
“It was pleasing for me to score after training hard and I managed to get 65 minutes before being subbed.
“It’s good for me to keep training and to be in good shape for the new season. Now we have South Korea coming up, who have got good quality players and are in the middle of their league competition, so most of them will be in good shape.
“We know it’s going to be a tough game, but hopefully we can put in a similar performance to the Syria one.”
The 25-year-old spoke more about Iranian football in general, and believes the pedigree of former Belgium national team coach Wilmots can take the team far.
“We’ve been making good progress in the last couple of years. We’ve qualified for the World Cup the last two times and made the semi-finals of the Asian Cup earlier this year, where I thought we deserved more.
“We know that he [Wilmots] brought through the very best Belgian players in a generation, like [Eden] Hazard and [Vincent] Kompany, with many now playing in world-class teams.
“They got better during his time as a coach, and that sounds good to us as players. We are looking forward to working with him, training with him and improving ourselves to make a bigger step to achieve our goals.”
Matters then turned back to Albion and Jahanbakhsh spoke about how he has gained a keen insight into Graham Potter from Iran team-mate Saman Ghoddos, who played under the new Seagulls coach at Ostersunds FK.
“He [Saman] was very positive about our new manager and that gives me even more of a good feeling ahead of the start of pre-season.
“Football-wise he wants to use the wingers, and get them to create chances. It’s all about looking forward and scoring goals, but he also wants to talk to the players and get the feeling of the way they like to perform.
“I am really looking forward to linking up with him and to see how he wants us to play.”