Leboeuf in bitter attack on Vialli

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The Independent Football

Chelsea are planning talks with Franck Leboeuf after the defender's criticism of the manager, Gianluca Vialli.

Chelsea are planning talks with Franck Leboeuf after the defender's criticism of the manager, Gianluca Vialli.

Leboeuf told a French football website: "Vialli has problems with everybody, with Albert Ferrer and many others. It's normal for a coach to get along with his lads, but not him.

"Last year," the French defender added, "he didn't back me up when I had problems with the referee during a game against Leeds. He even tried to get me out of the club. But, when Patrick Vieira had discipline problems, Arsÿne Wenger supported him."

Chelsea's managing director Colin Hutchinson said Leboeuf is "sometimes his own worst enemy" and will hold talks with the Frenchman.

"We have to be a bit careful that something has not been lost in translation," Hutchinson said. "If there is any credence in his comments then it is totally unprofessional and out of order."

In the newspaper L'Equipe, Leboeuf added: "When I read that they want Gareth Southgate and are waiting for Leboeuf to leave to allow Southgate in, I cannot help thinking I'm not wanted anymore."

It appears that Leboeuf is resigned to leaving. "I would like to finish my career at Chelsea," he said, "but I'm not sure that the coach has that much faith in me. But I'm not that worried. Footballers lead a nomadic existence and so we must always be ready to move on."

He added: "I believe a trainer must show love for his players. As a result, I don't know what my future will be in the next few weeks or days."

Sammy McIlroy, the Northern Ireland manager, moved to defuse a club versus country row yesterday when he said he is satisfied that Leicester's Neil Lennon and Gerry Taggart and West Ham's Steve Lomas are genuinely injured and cannot face Yugoslavia tonight.

The Irish Football Association has threatened to invoke a Fifa ruling to prevent the trio from playing at the weekend after their clubs pulled them out of the Windsor Park friendly.

McIlroy, though, spoke to the players yesterday and he accepts that they are unfit to play, but the IFA still wants medical reports on the players' injuries.

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