Tag Archives: backroom

League One round-up: Swindon go top but Fabrizio Piccareta says he will resign in the morning

Piccareta claims he and Swindon's backroom staff will resign on Wednesday despite Robins going top

PUBLISHED:

22:38 GMT, 19 February 2013

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UPDATED:

23:22 GMT, 19 February 2013

Swindon assistant manager Fabrizio Piccareta claimed the club's backroom staff were all set to resign in the morning despite a 3-1 victory over Tranmere taking them to the top of League One.

Manager Paolo Di Canio quit yesterday citing off-field problems at the club and Piccareta revealed after the victory at Prenton Park the technical staff would follow suit.

Piccareta, who was put in charge for the trip to Tranmere, was adamant it would be his final game.

Going: Swindon beat Tranmere 3-1 but Fabrizio Piccareta will resign tomorrow

Going: Swindon beat Tranmere 3-1 but Fabrizio Piccareta will resign tomorrow

'After this game, this fantastic game
that everyone has witnessed, I want to tell you that this is our last
game as technical staff of this football club,' said Piccareta

'I want to highlight one thing. This
achievement that this fantastic team got tonight, so top of the league
and this victory has a name, and a surname and that is Paolo Di Canio.

'People must know that yesterday he
released a statement at 7pm, but until 5pm yesterday afternoon we were
together preparing for this game as usual, in the best professional way.

'And I just spoke to Paolo because he
just rang me to congratulate us and the players because he is absolutely
happy of what his team has achieved.'

Slow start: All the goals came in the second half at Prenton Park

Slow start: All the goals came in the second half at Prenton Park

He added: 'From tomorrow, I don't know what is
going on with Swindon Town Football Club but this was a very important
moment to say thanks to the Swindon Town fans that are amazing.

'Tomorrow morning we will resign
because we are here for Paolo Di Canio and we will follow Paolo Di Canio
everywhere. Even if he will coach Real Madrid or Luton Town.'

All the goals came in the second half at Prenton Park.

James Collins hit a fierce long-range opener for the Robins (48) with Gary Roberts (71) firing into the top left-hand corner of the goal from 25 yards to double the lead.

Gone: Paulo Di Canio resigned as Swindon Town manager on Monday

Gone: Paulo Di Canio resigned as Swindon Town manager on Monday

Tranmere pulled one back seven minutes later when Donervon Daniels slotted home from close range but any hopes of a comeback were dashed by Roberts' stunning long-range strike at the death.

In the other League One match, Oldham climbed out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Stevenage.

James Dunne gave Stevenage a ninth-minute lead but the Latics hit back through Dean Furman (46) and a James Tarkowski header (60).

PSG and former Chelsea performance chief Nick Broad killed in car crash

Cole and Reid lead tributes after PSG and former Chelsea performance chief Broad killed in car crash

By
Dave Wood

PUBLISHED:

23:16 GMT, 18 January 2013

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UPDATED:

23:16 GMT, 18 January 2013

Former Chelsea Head of Sports Science Nick Broad was killed in a car crash on Friday. He was 38.

The Englishman was part of Carlo Ancelotti's backroom staff during his two-year spell at Stamford Bridge from 2009. His role spanned both the coaching and medical departments.

Wel, respected: Nick Broad pictured with Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-Germain

Wel, respected: Nick Broad pictured with Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-Germain

He then followed the Italian to Paris St Germain, where he was the club's performance manager.

Broad, who began his career as a
sports nutritionist at Blackburn Rovers, died in hospital after a road
traffic accident on the outskirts of Paris.

West Brom defender Steven Reid, who
worked with Broad at Blackburn, tweeted: 'Absolutely shocking news that
Nick Broad has died in a road accident.. Worked with Nick at BRFC..
Thoughts go out to his family!! #legend.'

And former Blackburn and Manchester United striker
Andrew Cole added: 'Just heard the news about nick broad shocking news
worked with him at blackburn rovers. Heart goes out to his family.'

The French football league reportedly rejected a request to
postpone PSG's match with Bordeaux on Sunday.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon says he was inspired by meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson

Tea and pancakes with Sir Alex inspired us! Celtic boss Lennon reveals reason behind Euro run

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UPDATED:

15:21 GMT, 21 December 2012

Neil Lennon has revealed that drinking tea and eating pancakes with Sir
Alex Ferguson was the secret to Celtic’s magical run to the knockout
stages of the Champions League.

The Scottish champions beat Barcelona on a famous night at Celtic Park – and reduced Rod Stewart to tears – and have drawn Juventus in the first knockout stage of the tournament.

But it was a visit from Manchester United and former Rangers manager Sir Alex Ferguson that inspired Celtic’s success in the group stages.

Cheers boss: Neil Lennon says a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson inspired Celtic

Cheers boss: Neil Lennon says a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson inspired Celtic

Lennon told the Guardian: ‘He gave us two hours of his time, which he didn’t have to do, and I thought it was a brilliant gesture. It was in the privacy of a room at the training ground, just myself and my backroom staff, some tea and pancakes.

‘He was in great form. He has given us little tit bits along the way for the Champions League games. I’m not saying that has got us over the line, but every little bit helps.

‘He was one of the only managers to write me a letter when we won the championship in May and I’ll be eternally grateful to him for that, as well.'

The away win over Spartak Moscow in Group G, along with the narrow defeat by Barcelona in Catalonia, were seen as proof of Celtic’s ability to hurt teams on the break.

Hooping mad: Celtic will play Juventus in the Champions League last 16

Hooping mad: Celtic will play Juventus in the Champions League last 16

With Juve going to Glasgow on February 12 before the return leg in Turin on March 6, Lennon feels his team have a chance to cause another shock.

Lennon also revealed that winning the league with Celtic has finally made him feel settled at the club, after having to endure all the criticism that comes with the role.

‘Old managers make mistakes; Wenger makes mistakes, Ferguson makes mistakes, Mourinho makes mistakes. So what do people call them

‘Before winning the league, I felt like I was on probation. It has been a massive year for me, personally.’

Henning Berg forced to shake-up Blackburn backroom staff by club chief Shebby Singh

Berg loses his team as Blackburn club chief Singh forces boss into shake-up

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 12 December 2012

Blackburn manager Henning Berg has been told to find a new backroom team to halt the club's slump, although his own job is not yet in jeopardy just eight games into his return to Ewood Park.

Rovers have won just once in that time, dropping to 13th place in the Championship, and the players will also be warned to improve performances or risk being sold in the January transfer window.

Plenty to ponder: Henning Berg has been forced to overhaul his backroom staff

Plenty to ponder: Henning Berg has been forced to overhaul his backroom staff

Berg's assistant Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms are all expected to be axed, with Brad Friedel lined up to return to the club from Tottenham as player-coach next month and replace Mimms.

Friday's 4-1 home defeat to Cardiff was the final straw for club chief Shebby Singh who held crisis talks with Berg on Monday night.

'After a result like that it is inevitable there was going to be a post mortem,' said Singh.

Out of sorts: Blackburn have claimed one point from a possible 12

Out of sorts: Blackburn have claimed one point from a possible 12

'Decisive action was needed. Now we know the direction we are heading in and what decisions have to be taken.

'The pressure is on. We did not expect this to be easy, and it hasn't been, but the decisions have been made that need to be made.'

Crystal Palace 2 Blackpool 2: Nouha Dicko scores late equaliser for Blackpool

Crystal Palace 2 Blackpool 2: Holloway in a rage over Dicko's late equaliser

PUBLISHED:

17:34 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 8 December 2012

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway hit out at the reaction of the Blackpool bench after Nouha Dicko's last-minute goal ensured his old club a dramatic draw.

Holloway left Blackpool only five weeks ago to take charge at promotion-chasing Palace, and his new side appeared on course for the win when Glenn Murray and Owen Garvan overturned Nathan Delfouneso's first-half opener.

Last gasp: Nouha Dicko celebrates the equaliser for Blackpool

Last gasp: Nouha Dicko celebrates the equaliser for Blackpool

Match facts

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Blake (Moritz 56), Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Zaha, Dikgacoi, Garvan, Bolasie (Moxey 90), Jedinak, Murray. Subs Not Used: Price, Wilbraham, Easter, O'Keefe, Gabbidon.

Yellow cards: Bolasie, Blake, Jedinak.

Scorers: Garvan 52, Murray 64.

Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Cathcart, Crainey, Martinez (Sylvestre 73), Gomes (Dicko 73), Osbourne, Ince, Thomas, Delfouneso (Kevin Phillips 88). Subs Not Used: Halstead, Eardley, Harris, Eccleston.

Yellow cards: Martinez, Crainey, Cathcart, Baptiste, Dicko.

Scorers: Delfouneso 37, Dicko 89.

Att: 15,594

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire)

The latest Championship table, results and fixtures

But Dicko came off the bench to
equalise, prompting celebrations in the dug-out that Holloway believes
went too far in the case of one of Michael Appleton's backroom staff.

The Palace manager said: 'They were
delighted at the end, but I didn't like the reaction of one of the men
on their bench. One of the new fellas looked straight at me when they
equalised. It's a war out there, and I carried my shield very proudly.

'He didn't stare me out. No one can
stare me out. I know Michael wouldn't have done something like that,
he's got more about him than that. But I didn't look round at them when
we scored, did I

'It was not easy to play down the
emotion. I was at Blackpool a long time and had great times. But you
have to move on. I heard them singing “What's the score” to me when
they were winning, but that wasn't happening when we were 2-1 up!'

Blackpool boss Appleton, now unbeaten in six games since succeeding Holloway, dismissed his opposite number's concern.

Levelling up: Owen Garvan scores for Crystal Palace

Levelling up: Owen Garvan scores for Crystal Palace

He said: 'I was probably celebrating when the goal went in.

'But you're talking about looking at
people. What are we supposed to do, keep our heads down I think maybe
Ian was being a little bit tongue in cheek.'

Delfouneso headed Blackpool ahead in
the 17th minute from Tom Ince's cross and the vistors reached the
half-time interval on top.

Opening salvo: Nathan Delfouneso celebrates scoring Blackpool's first goalates scoring Blackpool's first goal

Opening salvo: Nathan Delfouneso celebrates scoring Blackpool's first goal

But Palace responded strongly after
the break, levelling in the 53rd minute when Garvan headed home from
Yannick Bolasie's cross before Murray headed his 18th league goal of the
season in the 65th minute.

The home side appeared on course for
victory until Wes Thomas' low cross was turned home by Dicko, and
Appleton believes his side deserved a draw.

Heading in: Owen Garvin scores for Crystal Palace

Heading in: Owen Garvin scores for Crystal Palace

He added: 'I'm sure some players get
themselves up for different games – former managers or clubs – and I
thought we dealt with them reasonably well. I would have been
desperately disappointed not to take anything out of the game after
having played so well in the first half.

'I knew they would improve in the second half, and it was difficult for 10 or 15 minutes in the second half.

'But just before we got an
equaliser, you could see a bit of momentum building. And once we got
that, I thought we could have gone on and got the winner.'

Harry Redknapp calls on Les Ferdinand and Clive Allen for QPR: EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE: Old Rs Ferdinand and Allen called in to help Redknapp's rescue mission

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UPDATED:

01:40 GMT, 3 December 2012

Harry Redknapp is considering handing Les Ferdinand and Clive Allen places on his Queens Park Rangers backroom team.

The duo worked with the QPR manager at Tottenham and the 65-year-old boss is plotting a reunion at Loftus Road as he continues to put his stamp on the relegation-threatened club.

Redknapp has already added Kevin Bond and Joe Jordan to his staff, though their appointments will not be officially confirmed until Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki’s departures are approved.

Sign them up: Harry Redknapp is piecing together his backroom staff at QPR

Sign them up: Harry Redknapp is piecing together his backroom staff at QPR

Should Ferdinand and Allen join Redknapp, it would signal returns to the club for the two former favourites.

Ferdinand spent 12 years at Loftus Road, scoring 80 goals, while fellow striker Allen hit the net 40 times in 87 games for Rangers.

If Redknapp was under any illusion about the enormity of the task facing him in trying to keep QPR in the Premier League, a biblical message from Joe Royle quickly reminded him.

‘Joe Royle sent me a text saying keeping us up would be like turning water into wine or feeding the 5,000 or something,’ said Redknapp. ‘I have never read the Bible but he meant it would be a miracle. We will try but it is going to be hard.’

Royle was speaking from a position of experience, having fought top-flight relegation battles with Oldham in the early Nineties.

QPR are still waiting for their first win of the season after Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Aston Villa, when Jamie Mackie cancelled out an early effort by Brett Holman.

Incoming: Les Ferdinand

Incoming: Les Ferdinand and Clive Allen have been approached by Redknapp

Incoming: Les Ferdinand and Clive Allen have been approached

Redknapp said: ‘Not winning causes anxiety, it always does when you are bottom of the league.

‘Football is like life — it is about confidence. When things are going well, you win games and you come off and think, “We were rubbish today but we won again”.

'Sometimes, like us at the moment, you play well and come off and can’t get a win.’

Rafa Benitez"s first day in Chelsea madhouse

Rafa holds up well on first day in the madhouse with Gourlay and Buck nowhere to be seenReferee Clattenburg's race case blows up in club's faceMikel hit with FA misconduct charge for his actions on that day
Fans' anger growing over Benitez's appointment

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UPDATED:

23:43 GMT, 22 November 2012

At 5.55pm on Thursday evening, Rafael Benitez breezed into the Bobby Tambling suite at Stamford Bridge and was ready for anything. He had to be. This, after all, is Chelsea FC.

The European champions’ new manager was fully-briefed. On Chelsea’s chaotic regime, the hostile reception from supporters and the Mark Clattenburg affair.

He batted away a question about the FA’s verdict that there was no substance to Chelsea’s allegation: ‘This is my first day and I have just arrived,’ he said. ‘I went straight to training and have only thought about the team and what I want to do. I want to concentrate on football issues if I can.’

I'm back! Rafael Benitez held his first press conference as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

I'm back! Rafael Benitez held his first press conference as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

Remember me Benitez takes his first Chelsea training session on Thursday afternoon

Remember me Benitez takes his first Chelsea training session on Thursday afternoon

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

Under the microscope: Chelsea fans have been given their first glimpse of the new Blues boss

VIDEO: Watch Rafa Benitez's first press conference as Chelsea boss

Team bonding will have to wait

Chelsea stars were forced to cancel a team-bonding session after Roberto Di Matteo was fired.

Morale among players was so low following the 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich they planned a night out on Wednesday at Under the Bridge, a venue beneath Stamford Bridge.

It was seen as a chance for the squad to repair relations with the backroom staff following the stormy scenes at The Hawthorns when players, management and coaching staff traded insults after they fell four points behind Manchester City.

Chelsea assistant manager Steve Holland had arrived at The Hawthorns with a black eye and a cut cheek and it was still prominent when he was in the dug-out at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday night.

It was a nice idea, but there are too
many other issues surrounding this club at the moment and not enough
people in power to answer them.

Chairman Bruce Buck and chief
executive Ron Gourlay are happy to pipe up on radio stations when it
suits them, but when it comes to questions that are fully-loaded they
are nowhere to be seen. Shame on them.

When the FA released a statement
clearing Mark Clattenburg of racially abusing their own player, John
Mikel Obi, they didn’t have the courage to face up to questions.

When Benitez was asked to explain why
he is prepared to keep the seat warm for Pep Guardiola, the Spanish
coach was left to front it out himself.

When the inevitable questions about
the savage decision to fire Roberto Di Matteo just six months after
leading them to Champions League glory began, it was left to Benitez.

No action: Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer while John Mikel Obi (right) has been charged by the FA

No action: Mark Clattenburg has no case to answer while John Mikel Obi (right) has been charged by the FA

Revival bid: Benitez gets to work on making Torres score goals again for the Blues

Revival bid: Benitez gets to work on making Torres score goals again for the Blues

Welcome: Benitez smiles as he arrives at Chelsea's training ground

New man: Benitez assesses his new workplace

New man: Benitez arrives at their Cobham HQ before assessing his new workplace

How Neil Ashton led the way

‘It’s like being at a Champions League
press conference,’ he joked, holding the Chelsea shirt up for cameramen
and immediately settling into his stride.

It was impressive stuff, but after
finally meeting Roman Abramovich for the first time over dinner on
Thursday night, he will soon come to terms with the conditions every
Chelsea coach has to work under.

Benitez added: ‘This is a massive
club, one that allows me to fight for trophies. If you see my CV, I have
all the trophies you can win at club level. I won the league twice, in
Spain. In Spain, Guardiola cannot win the Premier League — you cannot
win the PL if you are a coach in Spain.

‘The Premier League, obviously, would
be a massive trophy because I know how difficult it is to win it. If you
get an opportunity like this, you have to take it. I don’t care about
short-term. I have to win every game.

New man in the hotseat: Rafa Benitez arrives at training at Chelsea's Cobham training ground and told the fans to get behind him

New man in the hotseat: Rafa Benitez arrives at training at Chelsea's Cobham training ground and told the fans to get behind him

Reunited: Fernando Torres arrives at training at Cobham ahead of his reunion with Benitez

Reunited: Fernando Torres arrives at training at Cobham ahead of his reunion with Benitez

Leader: Captain John Terry turns up for training

Leader: Captain John Terry turns up for training

‘We have five trophies to fight for. I
will try from day one. In football and life you never know. If we win
some trophies in seven months, everybody will be delighted.’

This is a six-month trial, a chance to
prove to the rest of the world that he remains one of the best coaches
in football. That experience, along with his ability to get the best out
of Fernando Torres at Anfield, is the reason he has been appointed as
Chelsea’s interim manager on a six-month contract.

Benitez said: ‘I spoke with Torres
like with the others players today, and his attitude was really good. It
seems everybody was saying he wasn’t doing well and I was saying the
same when I was watching games.

‘But his attitude was really good and
with this attitude, all the players will do well. It will be easier with
Fernando than the others. He is a top-class player and with his
attitude, he will do it. I know how good he can be, as I know how good
David Luiz or Ramires can be. He’s one of the important players in this
team, and I’ll try and improve him like I will the other players.’

That is one of the reasons he has been
appointed, to improve the form of a man who was once recognised as one
of the most feared forwards in the game. Torres hasn’t scored in the
Barclays Premier League since Oct 6, when he found the net during a
routine victory over promoted Norwich.

The former Liverpool striker, who was signed by Benitez in 2007, will start against Manchester City in his first game on Sunday.

This is the beginning of Chelsea’s
recovery. It has to be that way after falling four points behind City in
the Premier League and in danger of becoming the first Champions League
winners to be dumped out in the group stages.

Making his point: A Chelsea fan stands outside the training ground with an anti-Benitez sign

Making his point: A Chelsea fan stands outside the training ground with an anti-Benitez sign

No thanks: Chelsea fan protested when Rafa Benitez was linked in March

No thanks: Chelsea fan protested when Rafa Benitez was linked in March

Benitez has made a start by appointing
former Chelsea star Boudewijn Zenden as first-team coach and has also
brought in two of his old Liverpool backroom staff, fitness coach Paco
De Miguel and analyst Xavi Valero.

Winning trophies is all important and
they can make a start in the FIFA World Club Cup next month. It will
certainly help his relationship with the supporters, particularly after
the hostile reaction to his appointment.

At Liverpool, during those infamous
Champions League clashes with Jose Mourinho, he claimed Chelsea’s
supporters were no match for the Merseysiders.

Benitez said: ‘I don’t remember the
comments, but if I said it then you have to analyse the context. We were
playing against Chelsea, a top side, in the semi-final of the Champions
League and I was defending my team.

Former Blue: Boudewijn Zenden will be one of Benitez's coaches

Former Blue: Boudewijn Zenden will be one of Benitez's coaches

End of the road: Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following Chelsea's defeat to Juventus

End of the road: Roberto Di Matteo was sacked following Chelsea's defeat to Juventus

‘If I’m a fan, I’d like to see my
manager fighting for my team, my club, and doing almost everything. So I
don’t think it’s a lack of respect for the Chelsea fans.

‘I’m sure the fans here would like to
see me doing the same now that I am here, defending their club. We have
something in common: I want to win every single game.’

Benitez has worked under difficult
conditions before, caught in the crossfire when Liverpool’s previous
owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks fell out. He said: ‘When I left
Liverpool I had two bosses who were not talking to each other. This will
be easier.’

After accepting a six-month contract, he couldn’t be more wrong.

You've changed your tune, senor! What Benitez said back then…

2005
After the game, Sheila, who was sitting right in line in the main stand, said to me that the ball had crossed the line. She is a very honest person and that was good enough for me. It was a goal.
(On taking his secretary’s word that Luis Garcia’s so-called ‘ghost goal’ had crossed the line in the Champions League semi-final between the sides)

To me, Arsenal played much better football two or three years ago. They won matches and were exciting to watch. Barcelona and Milan too. They create excitement so how can you say Chelsea are the best in the world
(After Chelsea’s first Premier League title win)

2007
Chelsea is a big club with fantastic players, every manager wants to coach a such a big team. But I would never take that job, in respect for my former team at Liverpool, no matter what. For me there is only one club in England, and that’s Liverpool.
If Chelsea are naive and pure then I’m Little Red Riding Hood.

We do not need to give away flags for our fans to wave — our supporters are always there with their hearts and that is all we need. It’s the passion of the fans that helps to win matches — not flags. (The quote has been immortalised in a plaque at Liverpool’s training ground, below)

Rafa's words

I’m sure Chelsea do not like playing Liverpool. When they are talking and talking and talking before the game it means they are worried. Maybe they’re afraid
We were good friends until Liverpool started winning, then he started changing his mind. (on then Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho)

Yesterday
In the past I was playing against Chelsea, a top side, in the semi-finals of the Champions League and if I am a fan I like to see my manager fight for my team, trying to win every game and doing almost everything, so I don’t see a lack of respect for Chelsea fans, it was more a manager defending his team against another top side. I am sure they will like to see me defending my club now in the way I defended Liverpool at this time.

And as for Torres

I know everybody will be talking about Fernando Torres and today I was talking with him like I was talking with the other players and his attitude was good. Everybody has been talking about he was not doing well and I was the same because I was watching games and his attitude was really poor, and today it was the same as all the others.

Craig Levein taking legal advice after Scotland sacking

Axed Scotland boss Levein seeking legal advice as fallout from dismissal continues

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UPDATED:

08:41 GMT, 8 November 2012

Former Scotland manager Craig Levein has confirmed he is taking legal advice following his dismissal.

Levein was 'relieved of his duties' by the Scottish Football Association on Monday, who stressed they would honour the remaining 20 months of his contract.

The former Hearts and Dundee United boss was removed from his role four days after the seven-man SFA board first met to discuss his position, with a poor start to the World Cup qualifying campaign cited as the main reason for their decision.

Legal advice: Craig Levein was sacked after a poor start to World Cup qualifying

Legal advice: Craig Levein was sacked after a poor start to World Cup qualifying

In a statement on Wednesday night, Levein said: 'I would like to thank everyone who has supported the team and I during my time as Scotland manager.

'It has been a privilege to have done the job and I would like to thank my backroom staff who have worked tirelessly during my time as manager.

'Most of all I would like to thank the players for their unswerving loyalty, effort and professionalism. I am extremely disappointed by the process of the last week.

'I note the position as stated by the Scottish Football Association but do not concur and I am currently taking legal advice as to my options. I will make no further comment at this time.'

Meanwhile, interim boss Billy Stark is determined to use the friendly against Luxembourg to galvanise a Scotland squad left disappointed by Levein's departure.

Gordon Strachan and Owen Coyle are among those who have been tipped to fill the vacancy and Under 21s boss Stark has refused to rule himself out of the running.

Axe: SFA chiefs Stewart Regan and Campbell Ogilvie confirmed the departure

Axe: SFA chiefs Stewart Regan and Campbell Ogilvie confirmed the departure

But he insists his priority right now is boosting morale ahead of the match on November 14.

Stark said: 'I can say categorically I'm not thinking anywhere beyond this game. I've got enough on my plate trying to get the players lifted because they are disappointed that Craig has left.

'It has been very apparent that there was a real loyalty there to Craig. I've spoken to a few of the senior players and they are old and wise enough to know that we have to move on.

'But they are very disappointed and part of the job will be to try to lift morale and get a really positive attitude going into the game.'

On his own interest in the job long-term, Stark said: 'I've been happy in the Under 21s job and I'm honoured and absolutely delighted to have the faith of the board that I can prove myself capable of taking the team next week.

'I don't think you rule anything out in football.'

Craig Levein sweats on Scotland future as Joe Jordan eyes return to the dugout

Open to offers: As Levein sweats, Jordan eyes return to the dugout

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UPDATED:

00:52 GMT, 2 November 2012

Return: Jordan

Return: Jordan

Joe Jordan spoke of his burning desire to return to the dugout as a manager — as Craig Levein’s job remained hanging in the balance.

Levein’s future as Scotland manager was still shrouded in mystery yesterday after members of the SFA Board met to discuss his position following the national team’s dismal start to the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Jordan, along with Gordon Strachan, Walter Smith and Alex McLeish, has been mooted as a possible successor if a line is drawn under Levein’s three-year reign.

But, while Jordan steadfastly refused to be drawn on his interest in the post should Levein be sacked, he admitted to being open-minded about where the next chapter of his footballing life lies and said he ‘wouldn’t close any door’.

Currently out of work after leaving his coaching role with Tottenham in the summer, Jordan hasn’t managed a team since a caretaker spell at Portsmouth four years ago.

Despite spending much of the past decade as part of Harry Redknapp’s backroom teams at Portsmouth and White Hart Lane, the 60-year-old has retained an ambition to be his own man at some stage.

‘In respect of my future, I’d like to think I wouldn’t just be pigeon- holed,’ he said.

‘If I’m fortunate enough to get opportunities, I’d look at what they are irrespective if that’s being a manager that makes the final decision or someone that’s part of a coaching team. I wouldn’t close any door.

‘I have been an assistant and I have been part of a coaching group for a number of years but I wouldn’t like to be labelled just like that. I would just like to get back involved in football.’

Legend: Jordan netted for Scotland in three World Cup finals

Legend: Jordan netted for Scotland in three World Cup finals

The man who famously scored in three World Cup finals started his managerial career at Bristol City before spells with Hearts and Stoke.

But, having subsequently been part of the set-ups that won the FA Cup with Pompey and took Spurs into the Champions League, Jordan believes he is now better equipped to handle all that management could throw at him.

Asked if he felt he’d make a better manager nowadays, he replied: ‘Without any shadow of a doubt, yes. Definitely, no question, because you learn an awful lot when things don’t go particularly well, also.

‘I have worked at the lower levels, with teams where the expectation has been realistic, and with Spurs, where the expectation is high, and at Portsmouth, where the expectation was just: “Please survive, stay in the division”.’

Jordan believes Levein should be backed all the way by the nation.

‘For as long as he’s manager, we should get behind him,’ he said.

On a knife edge: Levein is fighting for his future

On a knife edge: Levein is fighting for his future

Roberto Di Matteo spends international week working with younger players

All quiet for Di Matteo as Chelsea boss takes time to work with younger players

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UPDATED:

12:01 GMT, 17 October 2012

Manager Roberto Di Matteo has been making the most of his quiet week at Chelsea.

With most of the Blues first-team squad away on international duty, it has been an opportunity for the manager to work with some of the younger players at Cobham.

Di Matteo will now step up preparations for Saturday lunchtime's Barclays Premier League game at Tottenham, with John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses having yesterday rejoined the group following their African Nations Cup qualifier against Liberia.

So quiet: With the majority of Chelsea's first teamers away on international duty, Roberto Di Matteo has taken the opportunity to work with the Under-21 side

So quiet: With the majority of Chelsea's first teamers away on international duty, Roberto Di Matteo has taken the opportunity to work with the Under-21 side

'This last week has been quite quiet for us – we've basically trained and coached the Under-21 team,' Di Matteo said on the club's official website, www.chelseafc.com.

'We have had the groups together because we had only six players, last international break it was three, so it's good for us to take a look at the younger players and good for them to be involved with us.'

Di Matteo feels his backroom staff of Steve Holland and Eddie Newton have all played a big part in helping take the European champions to the top of the Premier League.

International duty: Di Matteo is hoping Ashley Cole returns from England's match in Poland without any injury concerns

International duty: Di Matteo is hoping Ashley Cole returns from England's match in Poland without any injury concerns

'We have a good understanding among the technical staff. They are very supportive and both have good knowledge of the game,' he said.

'We have developed a strong trustworthy group, and we have [conditioning coach] Chris Jones and [goalkeeping coach] Christophe Lollichon with us as well, so I am happy with the management staff.'

Di Matteo will be hoping England duo Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill show no ill effects from having a day's less recovery following the postponement of Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier in Poland.

Frank Lampard (calf) and Ryan Bertrand (virus) did not make the trip to Warsaw, and continue to be assessed ahead of Saturday's game at White Hart Lane, after which comes a Champions League trip to Donetsk.