Coleman awash with guilt after 'mistake' of night out

Real Sociedad coach Chris Coleman finally came clean last night after blaming his late arrival to a press conference on washing machine problems.

The former Fulham manager was 90 minutes late for a press conference on Friday and could not be traced on his mobile phone. When he finally turned up he told waiting journalists that his washing machine had flooded his flat.

The excuse didn't wash with club officials and Marca published stories suggesting Coleman had been out partying until 5am the night before.

Last night, after his side's 1-1 draw with Celta Vigo Coleman admitted: "I was out until late in a place where I should not have been. The other day I gave you an excuse, above all to take the pressure off the club. Tomorrow I will talk with the president and I have already apologised to the players before the game. I have to ask for forgiveness from the fans and everybody connected with the club because there are no excuses. I have given ammunition for people to damage the club. It was a mistake.

"I have been at the club for just five months and it is the first time that something like this has happened."

Barcelona, meanwhile, have now claimed only six points from a possible 18 on the road after defeat to Getafe at the weekend. It is not what Frank Rijkaard had in mind when Thierry Henry was added to his already considerable attacking resources this summer.

The strain was beginning to show in the Barcelona coach's post-match inquest. "I have nothing to reproach [Victor] Valdes for, or [Carles] Puyol, or [Gabi] Milito..." and so he went on, naming his team player-by-player before stopping at the forwards. There was no mention of Ronaldinho, who was substituted on the hour, of Lionel Messi who was replaced on 72 minutes, or of Henry who in the words of Barcelona's leading football paper Sport "hardly touched the ball" and was "eaten alive" by Getafe's humble defenders.

Ruud van Nistelrooy grabbed a 73rd-minute goal to rescue a 4-3 victory for Real Madrid at home to Real Mallorca. New Valencia coach Ronald Koeman saw his side humbled 2-0 at home by Rosenborg Trondheim in the Champions League, but his first league game at the helm was a cakewalk with a 3-0 win against Real Murcia at the Mestalla. The win ended Valencia's run of four consecutive home defeats.

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