Now it must be cleaned up – before it ends in...

Now it must be cleaned up – before it ends in...
Now it must be cleaned up – before it ends in...

Now it must be cleaned up – before it ends in disaster

SURROUNDED: National team manager Lars Lagerbäck is in a tough time as Norwegian national team manager. Photo: Bjørn S. Delebekk / VG

When the explanations are as violent as they are between the national team management and Alexander Sørloth – then it’s time to take a step back. For this leads to nothing but a future where no one trusts each other.

Less than 10 minutes ago

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It is now necessary to have a leader with a cold head. Because the snowball rolls the wrong way, it contains sharp stones. And the speed is great. There is an urgent need for a clean-up. Volunteering is perhaps the word here.

VG’s revelations of the internal strife on the men’s national football team were followed by an explanation of the situation and what had happened, from national team manager Lars Lagerbäck. He came up with his version of the case, took some self-criticism, but left most of the blame for the conflict on Alexander Sørloth.

It also stood behind the captain group, Stefan Johansen, Omar Elabdellaoui and Joshua King.

So far, so good.

Or did it really?

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Why did it not say in the press release that Sørloth stood behind the words from the national team management?

On “Dagsnytt 18” on Thursday night, I asked the question, and said that I doubted whether the case was over as long as Sørloth had not spoken.

There was something gurgling.

Just over an hour later, the suspicion was confirmed – when Sørloth felt it so unfair, the way he had been publicly hung out, that he “took back”, came up with his version of what had happened.

Barely an hour after that, the Norwegian Football Association came – again – with a statement, where they pointed out that they stood by the statements Lars Lagerbäck had made earlier in the day.

And that’s how it’s probably possible to continue, day in and day out. As far as fun for us in the media that players and managers quarrel. For a while, maybe.

But honestly: here it must be cleaned up, otherwise everything that has been built up by the Lagerbäck regime in the last three or four years will be torn down with the help of a couple of press releases. And then someone has to make do with “my father is stronger than your father” statements. And quickly bring people in for a conversation. So that this case can come to an end – if it is not already too late for a happy ending.

At least that will be the case if there is no reaction, talk to each other and clear the bench and wardrobe now.

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Lagerbäck about the Sørloth episode: – Never been near this

And how difficult can it be to find out who is “right” here, as long as there were dozens of witnesses to the discussion between Lagerbäck and Sørloth? Did Sørloth say that the national team management is incompetent, or did he not say so? Here is obviously the main conflict, and here there is a conclusion. It’s easy to find that answer, meet, admit, raise your arms for one or more, and agree that this was a roar that made too much noise.

Stefan Johansen is a strong leader. And he’s a captain. I suggest that Johansen takes extra responsibility here, act as a mediator as soon as possible – and get this “fight” stopped before anyone thinks of consequences here.

For an acidic environment where many scold each other, no one trusts each other, it is poison. And it’s not far now. A lot has happened: quarrels, leaks – and explanations that split – and that create harder fronts than it was when Lagerbäck and Sørloth parted ways after the international matches in mid-October.

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It should be possible to clean up this mess. But it’s starting to rush. It does not take much until now the damage is irreparable. At least more arguing and more allegations do not help. And if this is not addressed before the next withdrawal of squad, which takes place on November 2, the national team may end up with a squad without one of Norway’s best football players.

It can happen fast. It has happened before that players have been given an involuntary break from national team games. It has also happened that players have taken a voluntary break.

Here, both can happen before anyone is able to pronounce the word “disaster”.

And nobody wants that, does he?

If everyone agrees on that, then it is about the word “humility” – to find a good solution, for all parties.

COMMENT: VGs Knut Espen Svegaarden. Photo: Hallgeir Vågenes

Published: 23.10.20 at 08:10

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