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Jul 5, 2006

Give Klinsmann time to decide, Bierhoff says

BERLIN, July 5 (Reuters) - Putting pressure on Juergen Klinsmann to stay on as German coach will only make him more likely to walk away, team manager Oliver Bierhoff said on Wednesday.

Germany lost in the World Cup semi-finals against Italy on Tuesday but the team's excellent run of performances have led to calls from players, fans and officials for the former striker to continue.

A group of fans wearing 'Klinsmann must stay' shirts even gathered outside the venue for Germany's news conference on Wednesday. Bierhoff, who is a good friend and former team mate of Klinsmann, will not be following suit.

'Putting pressure on Klinsmann now would be exactly the wrong thing to do,' Bierhoff told reporters.

'I don't think anyone has doubts any more about Klinsmann but we have to leave him in peace and take a holiday. Then he'll decide.'

Klinsmann, who had no coaching experience when he took over in August 2004, has the overwhelming backing of the players, while the German Football Association is eager to get a new deal signed.

There is a certain time pressure involved, with Germany due to play a friendly against Sweden on August 16 and the first of their European Championship qualifiers against Ireland on September 2.

'I still wouldn't give him a deadline, though,' Bierhoff advised.

Germany will play either France or Portugal in the third-place match in Stuttgart on July 8 and Bierhoff said the players would be eager to win to finish the tournament on a high.

'It would be a great way to go out,' the team manager said.

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