Carlos Queiroz , vigorously defended himself against all the criticism of directed at him and Team Melli players during a TV program aired on IRIB on Friday. The Team Melli coach demanded unconditional support as a prerequisite for success while once again indicated that he has little tolerance for criticism when he said that our opponents should be Korea, Uzbekistan, Qatar and Lebanon and not ourselves!
On the Lebanon match, Queiroz admitted that “ it was not a good day for us as we committed several mistakes , the worst lead to conceding the goal. But we fought well and created several opportunities. I think that the Lebanese goalkeeper had a miraculous day”
“After that defeat, there was much talk about the match. If we carry on this form, we will never make it , the critics claimed . This is not a sprint competition but a marathon. We have 8 different stages. We realize that we cannot win all those stages, but this is a good opportunity to observe who the people that can stand the hard times. All we need is to win against Korea Rep, and we will gain the lead. All our concentration now is on that matter” He continued.
Asked by the TV reporter, what is the event that he (Queiroz) would like to erase from his memory, the response was “Lebanon match:. However, Queiroz said that this was one defeat in 19 matches and we should not lose hope over that”
Queiroz then proceeded on praising the Iranian media and he considers it as an important part in the progress and support for Team Melli. The reporter asked him “if this is what you are thinking, why are Team Melli players boycotting the media then?” In response, Queiroz said “this was a very good question.” And then went on philosophically to explain the situation by mentioning his passion with Western “Cowboy” movies at his early ages , where there was always the good and the bad characters and how real life contains good and bad on both side. He said that he does not know where this rift between the media and his players started, but it was definitely not the fault of the players!
“It is not important now to pursue who is guilty, it is important that we are all united , from sport minister to the head of the federation , technical staff , players , the media. We need to be in a united front in order to win our crucial matches.”
Asked by the reporter, why he seems to get upset about anyone questioning him, Queiroz responded that some of the criticism is right and some aren’t. He claims that he welcomes all criticism and tries to respond to all of it.
” World Cup qualifiers are not a good time to test new players “
Faced by the question that he Queiroz does not like the Iranian league and he continually seems to ignores talented players who have shown lots of potential in the league such as Omid Ebrahimi , Mohsen Mosalman , Jalal Rafkhaei , Yaghoub Karimi , Milad Gharibi , Alireza Jahanbakhsh. These are players that have been praised by many football experts in Iran, Queriroz said that the answer is simple. Then he sarcastically said “we do not seem to be living in the same country.” Denying that he ignores these talents, he continued “I am going according to my program, which included friendly matches against teams Such as Mozambique and Mauritania. I know these matches were criticized by many , but it was for the very reason in question and that is to test these sort of players. In fact we have used some of the players in important matches.”
Confronted by the reporter why there is none of these players in the squad, Carlos Queiroz repudiated that fact and said “we are in the process of building a team and we find them suitable then we induct such players in the team. World Cup qualifiers are not a good time to test new players “
The reporter said that the reliance on his so-called experienced player , some of who are at the twilight of their careers , did not yield any result against Lebanon , Queiroz responded by saying this one loss is an exception , we ha have won in 14 previous matches and used young players like Hajsafy and Ansarifard! thus diverting the real issue that the reporter was questioning him about. Both the players Queiroz mentioned , were members of Team Melli before the Portuguese was appointed as a coach.
“young players should have been prepared well before Queiroz arrival in Iran.”
Queroz denied that he is not following the local league in Iran, he said that he has a cadre of staff that continuously follow the teams and players while he himself focuses on the senior Team Melli. He said sometimes the media focuses on a player’s mistake or error in a match while we judge on the whole 90 minutes! If we find suitable players, then we will surely select him for Team Melli.
“I accept that the team should use young players, but such young players should have been prepared well before Queiroz arrival in Iran and well before the World Cup qualifiers. Those who are criticizing me they did not develop the players.” Queiroz said in his own defense. However, the Portuguese coach did not comment on who developed the present squad at his disposal.
He then proceeded to defend himself against critics who have questioned his selection of players even those who are bench warmers at their clubs and those clubs who are lying near the bottom of the table. Queiroz took the Real Madrid example and claimed that since they only have 4 points, they should not have any players in the National team and that Naft Tehran coach, who is leading the table, should be Team Melli’s coach ! Thus providing far from a convincing logic of the questions that have been asked by the majority of the critics in Iran.
“cancellation of the friendly against North Korea was due to injury fears not for fear of defeat”
Queiroz then claimed that the cancellation of the friendly against North Korea which was supposed to be held on 9th October a week before the decisive match against South Korea, was due to the number of injured players , not because he feared a defeat.
Mr. Queiroz is maintaining his stand and demand for unequivocal and unconditional support for his ideas and his trait. Despite poor showing in most of the matches that Team played under him and over 15 month of being in Iran , he is adamant that he is doing the right thing and dismisses any criticism by diverting the attention to the necessity of support at such crucial time.
Track records , indicates that silencing critics of Team Melli , especially when the performance and results are not satisfactory , is a very tall order in Iran. The fans are already showing their discontent with Iran’s football by their conspicuous absent from the league matches specially those involving the two most popular teams in Iran , Esteghlal and Perspolis, who usually attract crowds in the 40-50 thousands range and over 100,000 when the two meet in the derby.
Much of Queiroz statements are unconvincing while some conflicting statements and some inaccurate ones were embedded in this TV interview . Whatever Carlos Queiroz has up his sleeve, he needs to be at his best against the favorite and the nemesis of Team Melli , the South Koreans. A defat is unthinkable and will perhaps , end the campaign early for Team Melli with both Lebanon and Qatar having the same points, while the Uzbek are showing a much improved performance and breathing down the necks of the rest of the group. A win is vital for Team Melli and whatever Queiroz mentality or philosophy is , it has to yield result comes October, 16th in Azadi Stadium