Not so quiet times for Romania’s national team coach
These are agitated days for the national team, with Razvan Lucescu under huge pressure from the public disgusted that the young coach blamed everyone but himself, for a start so poor that could compromise the entire qualifying campaign. Romania has two points from three matches and slim chances to turn things around, yet the Football Federation decided not only to defend its choice, but also to add two more years to the current deal and some extra cash, offering Lucescu Jr. a deal until 2014, paid with 375.000 euros per year! All this, in spite of the agreement that the coach will walk if he cannot get Romania to Euro 2012 and in spite of his obvious struggle to rebuild the team (the idea was to use the last official matches of the previous campaign to find new players and refresh the NT, but Lucescu preferred to take his long shot at landing the second spot in a group eventually won by France and Serbia).
This hard to explain support offered by Mircea Sandu and Ionut Lupescu has been balanced by the justified attack launched by the legendary Gheorghe Hagi, who played down the idea that Romania cannot get better results due to the quality of the available players. Very quiet until now, busy with running his excellent football academy, the former Barcelona & Real Madrid asked Mircea Lucescu’s son to step down, if he doesn’t have faith in the players’ ability anymore. Here are the most interesting quotes of their diallogue:
“Razvan said that Romania is a third world country, that the players are mentally weak – I cannot accept that, I feel insulted. I have supported him until now, but he was wrong to play down Romania’s past performances. His own father was successful with the national team. My generation was successful.”
“We are not weak, as players, I say we’re creative and smart, but we do need discipline. In the past two years he called up over 50 players, Romania’s U21 has a very promising group, we’re playing in Europe and have some top players abroad too. How could he say that we lack good players? I do not want to hear such a negative approach anymore, I say we CAN get results.”
“I didn’t want to offend anyone, especially Hagi. But I still say that there’s a lot of criticism and pressure before the games and that the players need a different, more positive atmosphere. I never said that we cannot qualify for Euro 2012, I believe we could still do it!”
“I will not resign and I only ask for support ahead of the games, not afterwards. I accept everything that has been thrown at me after these results, but they’ve been decided by some clear mistakes from the referees. We were seven minutes away from a good results on Stade de France”.
As if Lucescu (who strangely preferred France – Luxembourg, instead of the decisive U21 game between Romania and England!) didn’t have enough problems, he is also struggling to keep together his group of players. Relieved to have convinced VFB Stuttgart’s Ciprian Marica to give up the idea of a temporary retirement from the national team, the coach was surprised to hear that his vice-captain, Mirel Radoi, has no intention to play for Romania anymore. The 29 years old who is currently playing for Al Hilal is angry at the comments made by Ionut Lupescu, the Federation’s chief executive, and had already announced his intentions after the friendly games against Ukraine and Turkey.