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Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 17:45 UK

Loffreda upbeat on Tigers future

GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP FINAL
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 31 May Kick-off: 1500 BST
Coverage: Live on Sky Sports 1, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Leicester, BBC London; BBC Sport website


Marcelo Loffreda
I am very happy what we have done...but it is not my opinion that counts

Marcelo Loffreda

Leicester head coach Marcelo Loffreda is convinced Saturday's Premiership final against Wasps should not be his last game in charge of the Tigers.

The former Argentina coach, 49, has come under severe pressure despite taking Tigers to the brink of a second straight Premiership title.

But after an inconsistent league season and failure in Europe, speculation about his future continues to mount.

"I'm very happy what we have done, with the team and players," he insisted.

"It is all about winning and that is unfair from one point of view. One part of the club just look for results. The other part looks to have some time to adapt.

"Both positions are understandable."

Loffreda looked to be on his way out of Welford Road earlier in the year as the team bowed out of the Heineken Cup in the group stages, lost in the EDF Energy Cup final and struggled for form in the league.

But Tigers sneaked into the play-offs on the final day of the season and chief executive Peter Wheeler has denied Loffreda is on his way - although there will be an end-of-season review of the coaching set-up.

Wheeler said: "It has been a difficult season and it has been extremely difficult for him (Loffreda). He has a contract in place for the next two years.

"We will have a review of the coaching staff, as we do every year. The whole set-up will be reviewed.

"What I have said all along is that we have to be sure that we have the right people in place to do the job.

"The result on Saturday will have some relevance. We just have to be sure the whole structure is right and that we are on the right track."

606: DEBATE
rattdogg

Irrespective of the speculation, Loffreda insists he is fully focused on Saturday's match at Twickenham.

"I try not to think about the pressure and whether or not I am justified. I try to do my best, as I ask of the players," he said.

"The best way to fight against that is to do it with commitment and with your own strength and principles. I do not regret anything I have done.

"I don't regard this weekend in a personal way. This is for the squad and I am committed to that."

And Loffreda told BBC Radio Leicester his team are hitting form at just the right time.

"We are in a good shape," he said. "The last few weeks have given us a push forward and we have confidence and a lot of self-belief.

"We have a lot of respect for Wasps. We know they are a great team when it comes to this type of situation.

"They have outstanding players. Lawrence Dallaglio will be one of the most important influences, and they have good players in the backs with Josh Lewsey and Paul Sackey. They have pace and will play with a lot of passion.

Harry Ellis
Training has been really sharp, there's a buzz around the camp and I'd love to play it now

Harry Ellis

"Dallaglio has been a great players for Wasps and England. I have a great respect for him. "

Tigers scrum half Harry Ellis is also relishing the chance to shine on the big stage after an injury-ravaged season.

Ellis has only just returned to action after 10 months on the sidelines with knee ligament damage.

"It's huge it's our last game of the season and our only chance to get silverware so it's all coming down to this," Ellis said.

"We are completely focused and we're all relishing this game.

"Training has been really sharp, there's a buzz around the camp and I'd love to play it now.

"It's been a reverse from last season. I played all the season last year and missed the finals. This year I've missed most of the season and am playing in the finals.

"People have doubted us but I'm sure we'll come good in the end."


see also
Vickery given all clear for final
29 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Loffreda thanks Tigers for faith
19 May 08 |  Leicester
Tigers deny Loffreda will be axed
21 Apr 08 |  Leicester
Gloucester 25-26 Leicester
18 May 08 |  Gloucester
Ellis faces World Cup heartache
08 May 07 |  English


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