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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 September 2006, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Sanchez to stay in N Ireland job
Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez
Sanchez said he was astonished by media criticism of his team
Lawrie Sanchez has ended doubts over his future as Northern Ireland boss by saying that he intends to see out the remainder of his contract.

There was speculation after Wednesday's win over Spain he would quit because of his anger over media coverage.

But on Saturday he said that he had "decided to continue in my role".

"I categorically deny the underlying events of the past few days have been sparked by any desire to return to club football," added Sanchez.

"I would like to apologise if the unfortunate sequence of events overshadowed that incredible win (over Spain), but I felt I needed time to address several serious issues."

A statement from Sanchez said that he had taken the decision to stay on after holding "discussions with the IFA and largely thanks to the tremendous messages of support I've received from the people of Northern Ireland".

"I hope we can now put this series of events behind us and continue working for the benefit and progress of Northern Ireland football.

"With the continued support of the fans, I am certain that the team will produce many more performances as memorable as Wednesday's victory."

Sanchez confirmed that his disillusionment with media coverage of his Northern Ireland team had been the reason why he had given consideration to quitting the role.

"During my time in charge, we have risen 52 places in the FIFA rankings, beaten World Cup quarter-finalists, England and Spain, as well as drawing with World Cup semi-finalists, Portugal.

The criticism led me to question whether I wanted to continue as Northern Ireland manager

Lawrie Sanchez

"One more victory would take my record past that of every manager since Billy Bingham.

"Despite these successes, the level and ferocity of the criticism from certain sections of the media has astonished me," the statement continued.

"Criticism is part and parcel of football but some of the criticism has been out of all proportion, especially when considering the team had not won for 15 matches and had failed to score in 1298 minutes before I took over.

"It led me to question whether I wanted to continue as Northern Ireland manager and if the team could continue to make such progress in this climate of negativity."

Doubts emerged over Sanchez's future when he refused to speak to the press after the shock Euro qualifier win.

Goalscoring hero David Healy had pleaded with Sanchez to stay as national team boss.

The NI boss left the ground immediately without speaking to the media after the historic success.

Sanchez had also had to deal with a family bereavement last week.

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The former Wycombe boss suffered criticism from press and supporters following the 3-0 defeat by Iceland in Saturday's opening Euro 2008 qualifier but a hat-trick by Healy saw his side come from behind twice to beat the Spanish.

After the final whistle, Sanchez threw his IFA blazer and tie into the crowd, a gesture which some perceived as a farewell to the Windsor Park fans.



SEE ALSO
IFA backs Sanchez's press no-show
07 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Sanchez saga
07 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Sanchez salutes fans after NI win
06 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Northern Ireland 3-2 Spain
06 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Boss Sanchez deflated by defeat
02 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Northern Ireland 0-3 Iceland
02 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Champions League tables
02 Sep 06 |  Internationals


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