Hodgson leaves Udinese after criticising club

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The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson has parted company with the Italian club Udinese. The 54-year-old former Blackburn Rovers manager had been in crisis talks with the club's owner, Giampaolo Pozzo, after reportedly claiming at the weekend that he and his players were not as "well supported as we should be".

The former Switzerland and Internazionale coach, who endured an unsuccessful spell at Ewood Park in 1997-98, only took over at Udinese in the summer after taking FC Copenhagen to the Danish title, their first championship since 1993. Hodgson was quoted in the press at the weekend as saying: "Obviously I'm very happy to be back at this level of football, but I could have chosen a better club to come back to. It's an extremely strange club."

Hodgson yesterday claimed he did not recall making the comments. An official club statement yesterday said: "After the meeting today, Mr Roy Hodgson and the Bianconeri have decided by mutual consent to break the agreement they had in the month of July. The new coach will be announced tomorrow. The club would like to thank Mr Roy Hodgson for his collaboration throughout his time."

The goalkeeping coach, Alessandro Zampa, will take charge of Udinese's Italian Cup match against Parma tonight.

Pozzo had met with Hodgson after the club's 2-1 win over Verona on Sunday. "The club does not deserve those criticisms," said Pozzo. "I am very disappointed with the comments made by Mr Hodgson."

Udinese are ninth in Serie A, five points clear of the relegation places after 13 games. They staged a dramatic fightback to defeat Verona, scoring two goals in the last seven minutes.

Hodgson had been quoted as saying: "The players and myself don't feel we're being as well supported as we should be at the moment but maybe that will change. Nothing that has happened in my time at the club has suggested that we aren't going to be able to stay in this division. I'd like to have another crack at the Premiership. I regard myself as a European, but the great advantages for me going back to England would be the language and the culture. I'll just have to wait and see if an offer comes my way."

Hodgson's playing career with Crystal Palace, Maidstone United, and the South African club Berea Park was relatively undistinguished. But when he went into management, with Halmstad in Sweden, he won two championships in a four-year spell from 1976-80.

After a brief and unsuccessful spell at Bristol City in 1982, who were relegated to the old Fourth Division after he had moved up from assistant manager to take over from Bob Houghton, he returned to Sweden and enjoyed an amazing run of success at Malmo. From 1985 to 1990 he won five consecutive championships and two Swedish Cups.

In 1994 he took Switzerland to their first World Cup finals in 28 years. As coach of Internazionale, he took the Milan club to seventh place in Serie A in 1995-96, and to the Uefa Cup final in 1996-97.

The Brazilian striker Ronaldo admitted it was a dream come true to score after just 19 minutes of his latest comeback match for Internazionale – a 3-1 win over Brescia at the weekend. "A goal after two years was so important," he said. "I have dreamt of this. It's a moment of few words and great happiness."

The Internazionale coach, Hector Cuper, adopted a more cautious tone. "When a player is fit then I will let him play, but Ronaldo certainly cannot carry 90 minutes right now," Cuper told Inter's official website. "I wanted to field Ronaldo from the start without pressure and he gave a good performance. I knew he was ready and focused."

Ronaldo lasted 61 minutes of the game before being substituted as he builds up his match fitness, having limped out of action twice before this season in attempted comebacks.