Sven speaks

I WAS due to attend Sven-Goran Eriksson’s pre-match press conference at Manchester City today. However, yesterday afternoon it was cancelled, with the club citing “exceptional circumstances”.

It certainly wouldn’t have been pleasant to watch had it gone ahead. With Eriksson all but shoved out of the door by owner Thaksin Shinawatra, it’s unlikely that many questions would have focused on Sunday’s match at Liverpool.

And yet Eriksson would surely have been treated with more sympathy today than he got during the closing months of his reign as England head coach; I’ve yet to find a single person – apart from Thaksin and those close to him – who believes that Sven should be replaced.

It must have been a difficult call for City’s press department, who would have known that cancelling the press conference ran the risk of attracting just as much publicity as anything that might have come out of it had it gone ahead.

In its place, the club ran a video interview with Eriksson on its website this afternoon. Watching it felt a bit like observing the calm at the centre of the storm; but then Eriksson’s got a lot of experience of playing that role. The possibility of Eriksson’s departure – which had been included in another video interview on the same site earlier in the week – was not raised this time.

“The players have worked very hard,” Eriksson said. “I’m very pleased with them. It’s important, because otherwise we would have two flat games. I hope for the opposite. I hope for good football and two good performances.”

Eriksson talked of being professional, of not being flat, of finishing the season as strongly as possible. But with so much going on around him right now, you have to ask just how many people will hear him.

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