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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Baric to step down
Croatia coach Otto Baric
Baric is unhappy with the criticism
Croatia Otto Baric has revealed that he will step down at the end of his team's participation in Euro 2004.

Baric is out of contract on 31 July and has made it clear that he is unhappy with the amount of criticism he has received in the Croatian press.

"I am not interested in this job any more," said Baric. "After our mission in Portugal, it's over.

"I am surrounded by strangers full of criticism, although I am not sure if they are capable of doing my job."

The 70-year-old is a vastly experienced, having formerly been manager of the Austrian national team as well as coaching SK Rapid Wien to the European Cup Winners Cup final and SV Austria Salzburg to the final of the Uefa Cup.

He was appointed manager of Croatia after the team's poor performance at the 2002 World Cup under the leadership of Mirko Jozic.

Croatia only picked up one point from their first two qualifying games for Euro 2004 but recovered to finish in second place before winning a play-off game against Slovenia.

And Baric is now fully focused on preparations for the finals.

"We know what we need to improve," added Baric. "Aside from all the problems, I am looking forward to the challenge of the championship in Portugal."





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