Le Saux tells Blackburn to back Harford

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The Independent Online
Graeme Le Saux, the England full-back, insists the Blackburn players are determined to ease the pressure on their manager, Ray Harford.

Rovers' dismal start to the season - one point from a possible 15 - has made Harford a strong contender to become the latest managerial casualty.

However, Harford has stressed this week that he has no intention of quitting - and he can count on the support of his players as he tries to restore confidence in the wake of Alan Shearer's pounds 15m departure to Newcastle. Le Saux said: "We are right behind Ray and it is up to the players to pull together. We have the ability and the spirit to pull the club out of the lowly position it currently occupies."

But despite the backing of his players, Harford's search for a replacement for Shearer has become increasingly urgent. Rovers have only managed three goals in five games and Harford, who has run checks on Oliver Bierhoff - Germany's Euro 96 final "golden goal'' hero - knows he needs to bring in a high-profile striker.

Italian magistrates yesterday ordered video footage of Internazionale's Serie A match against Udinese to be seized after a lawyer took legal action against an Inter player whose tackle broke an opponent's leg.

Magistrates said the seizure was a formality after the Udinese lawyer, Roberto Cianci, filed a formal complaint against defender Salvatore Fresi for a tackle on Udinese midfielder Giovanni Stroppa last Saturday.

Stroppa, a former Italian international, has been ruled out for at least 40 days after the seventh-minute foul. Fresi escaped with a booking for the straight-legged tackle.

Cianci said on Tuesday that his legal action against Fresi was a private initiative but added that he had spoken to Udinese officials about it and they had not objected.

Ten Udinese fans, meanwhile, threatened their own legal action against Fresi, saying they had bought season tickets purely to watch Stroppa and now felt cheated.

"I want to raise the problem as a matter of principle. We will try and resolve once and for all whether behaviour of a criminal nature on the pitch can be punished by the ordinary magistrates," Cianci was quoted as saying.

Newspapers quoted the Inter president, Massimo Moratti, yesterday as saying the legal action was "in many ways absurd'' and urging Cianci to tone down his rhetoric.

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