Sleepless Matthaeus to Coach Bulgaria for 2 More YearsSports | August 11, 2011, Thursday // 14:19| views
Matthaeus has been upset by Bulgaria's poor performance in a Belarus friendly, he made it clear upon landing at Sofia Airport. Photo by BGNES
The Bulgarian Football Union and Lothar Matthaeus have agreed on a two-year extension of the German legend's contract as head coach of Bulgaria's national football team.
The deal was announced Thursday but had been negotiated earlier, before Bulgaria suffered a humiliating 1:0 loss from Belarus in a friendly in Minsk Wednesday night, a performance that got Matthaeus deeply upset, in his own words.
Matthaeus and the President of the Bulgarian Football Union Borislav Mihaylov spoke brief upon the national team's return from Belarus. The BFU head considers the deal to be sealed even though the contract has not been formally signed yet.
"The coach and I are very disappointed with the performance of the team against Belarus. Matthaeus will be Bulgaria's coach in the next two years. He made the decision to stay before the friendly with Belarus. It will be his job now to figure out who should be part of the team," said Mihyalov, a former star goalkeeper who is a bronze medal winner with the Bulgarian national football team from the 1994 World Cup in the USA.
Mihaylov did promise that Bulgaria will play much better in the upcoming Euro 2012 match against England in Sofia, even though the team has lost any chances to make it to the European football championship.
"How can a player be unmotivated to play for the national team? I have 102 matches for Bulgaria, and I was overexcited every single time," he commented further.
The German coach was more restrained in his responses about the extension of his contract.
"We haven't signed the contract yet but we talked about the future of the Bulgarian national team. I think that both sides can be happy," he declared.
"I am very displeased with our performance against Belarus. I hardly got any sleep last night. I saw a lot of things we need to change. We feel that some of the players don't do their best for the national team. The players must realize what it means to play for Bulgaria," Matthaeus himself commented upon returning from Belarus.
He dismissed criticism that Bulgaria did very poorly because of the absence of some of its key players like Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov and Bolton Wanderers winger Martin Petrov. Matthaeus reminded Bulgaria's 0:4 loss to England in the Euro 2012 qualifications that it suffered in spite of sending in all of its top players.
"It is too early to talk about plans [for the next two years]. I am sure that we have good players but they have got to work more professionally. We have time, nobody is in a hurry. We will talk about my contract when I sign it," Matthaeus concluded.
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