MOSCOW (AFP) – Fabio Capello has dismissed speculation that he is about to lose his job as manager of Russia amid a run of poor results for his side.
“I don’t have any information about that,” the Sport Express daily quoted Capello as saying at a news conference ahead of Tuesday’s friendly with Hungary in Budapest.
The 68-year-old Capello, reportedly the highest paid coach at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil with a salary of around 7 million euros (US$8.8m), has been under fire since Russia failed to qualify for the second round of the event despite having a relatively easy group. They returned home without a single win.
The former England manager, who signed a lucrative new contract in January which covers the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia, received backing from the country’s sports top authorities including sports minister Vitaly Mutko.
However, the recent performances of the country’s squad in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign forced Mutko to vent his disappointment with the state of affairs in the country’s national squad.
On Saturday Russia went down 1-0 in Austria to increase the pressure on Capello. The defeat came just a month after the Russians were held at home by lowly Moldova to a 1-1 draw.
“The result of this game cannot satisfy us,” Mutko told the press after the defeat in Vienna.
“The team loses self-confidence while we lose our position in the FIFA rankings.
“The time has come to solve these problems…..It’s organisational, personnel problems. And we will revert to these issues soon.” Capello meanwhile refused to comment on the minister’s statements.
“Too many people are currently talking too much about football. Sometimes what they say are too far from the reality.”
The question marks surrounding Capello’s hold on the job were further highlighted when the top official of the Russian Football Union (RFU) said last week that they could no longer afford to pay Capello’s huge salary.
“I am saying with full authority that the Russian Football Union simply does not have the money to pay Capello,” Sergei Stepashin, a member of the RFU executive committee, said.
“As far as I know, the contract was signed by Nikolai Tolstykh (the RFU president) and initialled by sports minister Mutko.”