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New Cluj boss Cartu: I've a tough act to follow

New Cluj boss Sorin Cartu says he has a tough act to follow after being parachuted in to replace Andrea Mandorlini, who was sacked on Monday.

The former Romania Under-21 coach took the helm after Mandorlini was fired due to a poor start to the domestic campaign, despite him leading the club to a league and cup double last season.

After a whirlwind appointment, Cartu is now preparing his side for their opening game in the Champions League against Basel on Wednesday. He says he faces a stiff task to follow such a successful manager.

Cartu said: "For me it is a pretty difficult position to come after a coach who has won everything you can. Any other result from our side can be considered a failure.''

Cluj and Basel will be keen to get points on the board, given that the other two clubs in Group E are last season's beaten finalists Bayern Munich, and Claudio Ranieri's Seri A runners-up AS Roma. Cluj have started poorly in the league but Cartu expects his players to cope with the sudden change of leadership.

He said: "The players are professionals, they are paid by the club and must adapt to the situation. We will try to accumulate as many points as possible in the Champions League. It is a tough group with outstanding opponents. I will try to line up a team to help us to obtain the best results.''

Cartu, though, will be unable to call on Cristian Bud, Nuno Diogo and Sixto Peralta, who were all left off the squad list for the Champions League by his predecessor. "I was amazed that Bud, Diogo Nuno and Peralta are not on the list,'' he added. "I wanted to select Bud against Basel.''

Mandorlini, meanwhile, hit out at owner Arpad Paszkany and chairman Luliu Muresan for their decision. He told "I think that, after all I did for Cluj, I deserve more respect. Paszkany and Muresan could have let me manage in the Champions League. It could be their gift to me as a reward for the results we obtained last season.''

Basel will be hoping to take advantage of the upheaval at Cluj, with defender Samuel Inkoom confident they can collect three points. He said: "It will not be easy but I think we can win. I knew that they have changed their coach, and certainly the new coach will try to change things in the team.''

And Inkoom certainly does not believe the teams are playing for third place, adding: "We are the favourite in this group, then Bayern.'' Jacques Zoua, Valentin Stocker and Genseric Kusunga are all likely to miss out through injury.


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