Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic says he is in charge and nobody else after coming in for criticism from fans as he prepares his side to face South Korea on Sunday.
The Fennec Foxes are under pressure to win their first World Cup match since 1982, and after failing to secure good results in the 1986 and 2010 editions, the Bosnian knows his team will need a big effort to get something from their next Group H fixture at Beira-Rio.
“We have a country that loves football, and that trusts this team," Halihodzic said at his pre-match press conference. “I made my players aware of that, but this Korea team is just better than us.
“You have to think each match individually, and consider the opponents we’re facing. We’re not Brazil, who can allow themselves not to think too much on the opposition. We’re not that strong.”
“But we will try to give a present for the Algerian people, they deserve it.”
After allowing Belgium for a comeback on Tuesday, the Algeria boss has faced some harsh criticism by local media, mainly because of the defensive-minded approach to the match.
Those went even further after reports claimed the president of the Algerian’ FA is pressing for changes in the team’s starting line-up, but Halilhodzic firmly denied such reports, while also opting to keep his changes secret for tomorrow.
“There are so many stupid things being said by the press," he reacted. There are a lot of people that could be listening, but I’m the one who chooses the team. I don’t need to talk to the president to tell him how to line up the team. That’s why I’m coach.
“I know what people have been writing about me, and the critics. And I won’t change just because we’ve lost to one of the best teams in this World Cup.
“I have given a lot of thought on my strategy. I had to forget about the Belgium match, and start focusing on Korea. We need to win this one, and also the one against Russia.”
Despite not being in the best of moods, the coach believes his players learned from their mistakes in the first match, and hopes to add that to the support from the Brazilian people to get the best result in Porto Alegre.
“In football, you have to defend and attack equally, otherwise you won’t win," he continued. “But the team learned this, they are young and, hopefully, things will come out differently this time.”
“This team has made a lot of progress in recent years, now it’s up to their passion and discipline.
“I know the Brazilian people loves good football, and that’s what we’re always aiming for. So I think we will get their support tomorrow.”