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Alarm bells sounding for Everton


Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
By ESPN Staff

Lehmann in hot water over Babbel reaction

Stuttgart goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is facing disciplinary action after speaking out against the sacking of Markus Babbel.

Lehmann claims the board bowed to pressure from fans and took the easy option in dismissing the former Germany international at the weekend. Stuttgart's team bus was blocked on its way to the stadium ahead of last Saturday's 1-1 draw with Bochum and the fans vented their anger during and after the game.

"There was a group of lads, most of whom are going through puberty, and that has had the impact of forcing the club to make decisions,'' he told Sky. "That's the way things work in football, but if you have the strength and the quality to make decisions which contradict public opinion, then things work out better in the long term. But clubs don't seem to be able to do that."

Lehmann's remarks came before Stuttgart defeated Unirea Urziceni last night to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League under their new coach Christian Gross. After the game, the club's director of sport Horst Heldt confirmed that he would not accept Lehmann's remarks.

"The timing was wrong and the remarks were completely wrong,'' he told Sat.1 television. "When we made our decision, we sat down and talked with the coaching team and nobody else. We will deal with the facts and there will be consequences.''

Lehmann is also reported to have taken an unscheduled toilet break behind the advertising hoardings during last night's victory.


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