Christophe Berra: We’re right behind boss and we are going in right direction
DEFENDER Christophe Berra still believes Scotland are moving in the right direction under Craig Levein despite sitting rock bottom of their World Cup qualifying group.
Levein was criticised after opening the campaign with draws against Serbia and Macedonia at Hampden, and the pressure on the manager has only intensified in the wake of Friday’s defeat in Wales and Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss in Belgium. However, even if the headlines do not make kind reading for Levein today, Berra claims the players still have faith in his ability as national team boss.
He said: “In club football, international football, whatever line of work you are in, if you’re not getting results, there is going to be speculation that puts people under pressure, but the boys enjoy being in the squad, training and playing, and we’re going in the right direction.
“The boys like working under the manager and I think he’s done well for us. I know it’s a results-based game but we think, at the moment, we’ve got one of the most talented Scottish groups for a long time. In the end, we are the ones who go on the pitch and try to win the games.”
The Wolves centre-half added: “If you ask anyone, everyone likes turning up. It’s a media-driven world at times and whatever makes the back pages, the whole country will read and they will take their views from that.
“You’ve got to take the views of the players and we all enjoy it and feel we are going in the right direction and just need that bit of luck. We are all behind the manager.”
Levein stated in his post-match press conference that he had no intention of walking away from the job, although that decision may well be taken out of his hands by the SFA in the coming days.
Berra said: “They just need to ask the players. The players enjoy turning up, there aren’t as many call-offs as there used to be in the past. We’ve got a bright group of players and we are all fighting for the right cause. There is no-one turning up who isn’t giving 100 per cent. We all are.”
Berra is realistic enough to realise that Scotland now have little hope of salvaging the campaign following such a poor start in what was always going to be a difficult group, but he still feels aggrieved at some of the decisions by match officials which have resulted in their lowly status – particularly Steven Fletcher’s disallowed goal when the Scots were leading in Wales before eventually losing 2-1.
On their qualification hopes, Berra said: “Let’s be honest, if we were neutrals looking at it, it doesn’t look good, but we’ve not had the luck in the past. We can’t always blame that but if you look at the Macedonia game, it ended 1-1 and their goal was clearly a yard offside. It was a bad decision by the officials. In the Wales game, we were 1-0 up and Fletch scored and it was a terrible decision by the officials. They can’t afford to get these decisions wrong. At 2-0 up, we would probably have won the game.
“In football, there are small margins and sometimes you need a bit of luck and decisions to go your way and they didn’t.
“We are not making excuses but, if you look at two or three games in the past – against the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Wales – big decisions have gone against us.
“If that was someone like Spain, there would be a lot more being said about it. Sometimes you’ve just got to lick your wounds and get on with it.”
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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