The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Media gets a Bielsa lashing

Buenos Aires: Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa lashed out at the media during a marathon four-hour news conference on Monday.

“I’m not a friend of the journalists, nor do I see them, nor do I want to be close to them, and I believe it’s better to work in isolation in training,” he said.

The eccentric coach’s relationship with the media has deteriorated since he was surprisingly re-appointed following Argentina’s shock first-round exit in last year’s World Cup.

The news conference took place amid media reports that Bielsa could make way for Carlos Bilardo, who led Argentina to World Cup victory in 1986.

“Most sporting journalists confuse the message and contradict themselves constantly from one day to the next,” said Bielsa.

He added the media was to blame for the decision of former Argentina and Tottenham midfielder Osvaldo Ardiles to quit as coach of Racing Club last week.

Ardiles had only been in charge for nine months and left the day after Colombia’s America knocked his team out of the South American Libertadores Cup.

“The wrong messages and the contradictions of the journalists on the day of the match and the day after were an influence,” said Bielsa.

Bielsa said his team was unlucky to be prematurely knocked out of the World Cup.

“Argentina were better than their opponents in the first round of the 2002 World Cup but lost because, in football, the best sometimes lose,” he said.

“Part of the media considered that we have to destroy the team which lost and they are looking for arguments to make it useless. I accept that I’m responsible (for the failure) but I’m not useless.”

Referring to his future in the job, Bielsa said he had the backing of Argentina Football Association (AFA) president Julio Grondona.

Bielsa barely referred to Wednesday’s friendly at home to neighbours Uruguay in which both countries will field experimental teams of locally-based players.

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