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Wednesday, 12 June, 2002, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK

Engel blames his players

Poland coach Jerzy Engel is laying the blame for his team's early World Cup exit firmly at the door of his players.

"The players took [financial] care of themselves first, the common good of the team began to play a secondary role," he told the Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

" This is no longer a team where it is all for one and one for all "
Jerzy Engel

"During the qualifying campaign, we were like giants. Here, in Korea, the players lacked spirit.

"This is no longer a team where it is all for one and one for all. Besides, they didn't manage to deal with the pressure.

"They were not determined enough. It seems that qualifying for the finals was their ultimate goal. After achieving that, they changed mentally."

Although the Polish FA bosses, Michal Listkiewicz and Zbigniew Boniek, say they are not considering sacking Engel, it seems that almost every Polish newspaper wants him out immediately.

Gazeta Wyborcza, the most popular Polish daily, published an article by their commentator Andrzej Olejniczak on Wednesday headlined: "Coach! Go away!"

Przeglad Sportowy headlines its editorial: "Coach! Have a bit of dignity!"

It continues: "[France coach] Roger Lemerre is a man of honour. Before the match against Denmark he promised that if his team didn't qualify for the next round, he would resign.

"Unfortunately, Jerzy Engel is a different sort of fish. After humiliating games against South Korea and Portugal he wants to stay on.

"A pre-war Polish army officer would know what to do in such a situation."

All the papers blame Engel and his players for putting their financial interests first.

Przeglad Sportowy suggests that Henryk Kasperczak should take over as coach.

"Kasperczak played in the Polish team in the 1974 World Cup, when they finished third. He successfully coached in France and the Middle East."

The paper also mentions Dariusz Wdowczyk and Dariusz Kubicki as alternatives and then asks: "Why not Boniek?

"Boniek might be the one who selects the team and Wdowczyk might take care of coaching."

" If you win, the victory is not just down to the coach, and not only the coach is responsible if you lose "
Zbigniew Boniek

But Boniek urges caution: "I think first of all we have to cool down a bit," he told Przeglad Sportowy.

"If you win, the victory is not just down to the coach, and not only the coach is responsible if you lose.

"Engel has a contract through the qualification competition of the 2004 European championships, so he doesn't have to worry about his job now.

"We will analyse everything more carefully after the game against USA."

Some 67% of those who voted in a Polish internet poll said Engel should resign, with 33% wanting him to remain as coach.

Almost two-thirds of those who voted think Poland should look abroad for the next national team coach.


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