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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Clemente disappointed as Iran job falls through

MADRID, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Javier Clemente said he was surprised and disappointed by the Iranian Football Federation's decision to back out of an offer to appoint him as national team coach because of his refusal to live in the country.

'For me it was a disagreeable surprise because I had gone to a lot of trouble and was really looking forward to giving them a helping hand especially after the reception they gave me when I went there,' the former Spain and Serbia coach told sports daily AS on Wednesday.

'I could have done a good job but if they are incapable of respecting an agreement from the start then it is better not to have gone.'

Clemente decided to accept the offer after visiting Iran earlier this month but said he had made it clear from the start that he would continue to live in Spain and only travel to Iran before matches and to train and prepare the team.

The 57-year-old said pressure from the local media had prompted the Iranian federation to do an about-turn and change the contract to insist he resided in the Islamic state.

'The press pushed very hard despite the fact that I told the federation that my plan was to travel to Tehran 10 days before the games which would have given me plenty of time to have prepared for a match.

'They wanted to change the conditions of the contract but only in their favour. I could have after signing that I wanted a 3,000-million contract or the Shah of Persia's palace but I didn't do that. I respected our agreement and they didn't.

'They've wasted my time and in the end I got bored. I'm not going to coach Iran now.

'I'm sorry not to have been able to work with Iran because of their fans. They behaved fantastically with me and gave me a great reception and I'm really grateful for that.'

Iran said on Tuesday that they have resumed their search for a coach to take charge of the team during the remainder of qualification games for the 2010 World Cup.