Coleman rails against 'madness football'

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The Independent Online

Iain Dowie is convinced that without a rapid turnaround in Crystal Palace's fortunes he will soon be on his way out of Selhurst Park - just as his good friend Chris Coleman feared at Craven Cottage up until a few weeks ago.

With his side still winless and mired in the relegation zone, Dowie, who played briefly with Coleman at Palace nine years ago, would appear to be justified in his fears despite recently signing a new, four-year contract.

"People say Gary Megson is facing the sack at West Brom but it will be looming over me in three or four games' time if I haven't managed a win," Dowie said as his team prepared for tomorrow night's visit of Coleman's Fulham. "I've been told no one has gone this long in the Premiership without winning and still survived at the end of the season."

For Coleman, managerial insecurity is inevitable in a win-at-all-costs culture, a fact about which he was acutely aware after three successive defeats early in the season.

"It's madness," the Welshman said. "Look at Paul Sturrock [who was sacked by Southampton] - my God, they weren't having a really bad run and he finds himself out of a job. You are thinking, 'it's madness football' - a few knee-jerk reactions and managers are out of a job."

Dowie believes he can turn things round, and has augmented his squad with the Australian attacking midfielder Anthony Danze, signed subject to international clearance. The 20-year-old, formerly of Perth Glory, was part of his country's Olympic squad in Athens.

The Manchester City midfielder Claudio Reyna has been left out of the United States squad for the World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador and Panama after suffering a setback in his recovery from a thigh injury.

The Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel also misses out despite his fine form in the Premiership, with Manchester United's Tim Howard and Tottenham's Kasey Keller preferred despite both being dropped at club level.

In Serie A, Gianfranco Zola scored as Cagliari had their third win in five games, 2-1 over Brescia. The former darling of Stamford Bridge put the Sicilians ahead with a penalty, his first goal of the season.

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