Wigan boss Bruce blasts International break

Last updated at 13:26 23 March 2008

Wigan manager Steve Bruce has slammed the "ridiculous, stupid and crazy"

scheduling of a round of international friendlies this coming week.

Bruce saw his side's four-match unbeaten run come to an end with a 3-1 defeat

against 10-man Blackburn yesterday, a result which leaves his side five points

above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

But instead of being able to regroup and prepare properly for next weekend's

difficult trip to Portsmouth he has to wave the majority of his squad off on

international duty.

"The ridiculous thing is there is an international friendly game at this time

of the season," said Bruce, who tried to keep a lid on his feelings about the

people responsible for slotting it into the fixture list.

"Whoever thought of that is absolutely...

"Considering the importance of the games coming up half your squad - and it is

all over the Premier League it must be said - are away playing stupid friendly


"What would be nice was if we got everyone together on Monday morning and

decided to go to work again and try to put the things right.

"But unfortunately 10 of them are away at a crazy international game.

"I suppose we will see some of them next Friday and see how it is.

"It baffles me, it really does."

If worrying about his internationals was not enough, Bruce has other concerns

stacking up.

Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios, one of Wigan's key players in recent

weeks, is now banned after being sent off for two bookable tackles on

Blackburn's David Dunn.

He joins fellow midfielders Jason Koumas and Michael Brown on the suspended


Left-back Erik Edman is likely to be out until October if, as expected, a

ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee is confirmed in the next 24


The Swede, part of an unchanged back four which had kept five clean sheets in

six matches prior to yesterday, was carried off on a stretcher just before

half-time after falling awkwardly.

Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland also injured his back at Ewood Park after colliding

with his own centre-half Emmerson Boyce and coming down heavily.

He is expected to join up with the England squad but Bruce felt he would be a

doubt for the midweek friendly against France.

"I have got Palacios, Brown, Koumas suspended and Antoine Sibierski (calf)

with an injury - it is all at the wrong time," said Bruce.

"We have picked up a couple of injuries and a couple of suspensions but that

is what you have a squad for and we will assess everything over the next 24


The problems may be piling up for the Latics but their manager remained

optimistic of their chances of avoiding relegation.

"I have always said it is the accumulation of points and 35 points in the last

five years has, more often than not, been enough," he added.

"Whether it is going to be enough this season remains to be seen.

"I always think 38 points - a point a game, level par - is enough and that is

still the target.

"We have got seven games to play and in my opinion we need seven points."

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