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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Denizli fights press condemnation
Rustu Recber
Turkish keeper Rustu Recber has a slight injury
Coach Mustafa Denizli says that criticism from the Turkish press has dented the spirit and morale of his team as they prepare for the challenge of Sweden in Eindhoven.

Denizli's side were beaten 2-1 by Italy on Sunday, but the team have been lambasted for the way they played and their subsequent result.

And the coach believes it has had an adverse effect on preparations for the Swedish challenge.

"Unfortunately, the criticism we had after the first game meant we lost two days," the former Galatasaray coach said at the team's hotel in the Dutch town of Mierlo.

"If you're a young man, you get down. That's normal - not only for Turkish players, for all players. "I know our team has played well and has the power to have success," he added.



I know our team has played well and has the power to have success

Turkish coach Mustafa Denizli

The coach revealed doubts over the fitness of midfielder Sergen Yalcin, goalkeeper Rustu Recber, striker Oktay Derelioglu and defender Temizkanoglu Ogun

The Turks have yet to win a point in the European championships, having lost all three games in Euro 96.


Roland Nilsson
Central defender Roland Nilsson is out
In the Swedes, they meet a team that also lost their opening game, so it is imperative that both sides go for the win.

And Denizli knows that the opposition present a difficult challenge.

"They are a very strong team. We must be careful of the high balls in the penalty area. They have very quick, clever players."

Problems

While the Swedish coaching duo have yet to receive such condemnation, Tommy Soderberg and Lars Lagerback have their own set of problems to contend with.

A crisis in defence is looming, with Roland Nilsson injured and Patrik Andersson suspended following his red card in the Belgium game.

Valencia's Joachim Bjorklund is the only defensive regular available, and he will be partnered by Olof Mellberg of Racing Santander in the centre of defence.

Alternatives

Other alternatives include Bologna's Teddy Lucic on the right and Real Zaragoza's Gary Sundgren on the left.

Celtic midfielder Johan Mjallby can also play in defence and may be asked to fill in.

Having struggled to make in-roads in Belgium's porous defence, Henrik Larsson could play, with Freddie Ljungberg moving into the centre of midfield.

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See also:

12 Jun 00 | Turkey
Sukur set for Serie A
13 Jun 00 | Sweden
More bad luck for Nilsson
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