Stefanovic 'disappointed' by Adams' criticism

November 24, 2006

Portsmouth captain Dejan Stefanovic and assistant manager Tony Adams are on a collision course over criticism of the Serbian's defending.

Left-back Stefanovic, 32, is stung by former Arsenal and England defender Adams blaming him for recent goals conceded by Pompey.

And the player, who is battling on in the Premiership despite the pain of a knee ligament injury, has demanded a showdown with boss Harry Redknapp's new number two.

The popular Stefanovic may also think twice in future about playing on in pain to help Portsmouth out of a crisis - including this Sunday's game at Newcastle where illness has put a question mark over Matt Taylor's chances of returning.

Adams said: 'That is twice too many - especially by the skipper' after Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic and Fulham's Zat Knight both scored from set-pieces against Portsmouth earlier this month.

And there was more finger-pointing when Jay DeMerit netted for Watford from a corner last Saturday.

Stefanovic agrees his injury is making him play below his best but is seething over Adams's remarks which he read in the Portsmouth News.

The 32-year-old admitted: 'I'm disappointed with what has been said.

'I'm an honest person and I'm not happy to read these things. Tony knows I'm playing with an injury and should have kept this inside the club.

'I'm angry about it. If he is going to talk about mistakes for goals, why doesn't he do it for every goal we've conceded this season?

'Why not come to me about it? This has really put me down. I have not heard from Tony but he knows the injury situation, so this is disappointing.

'I respect Tony and he is a big name, but I don't care about that. He really should not say these things. Some people would stay out for six weeks with my injury but I'm playing because the club needs me.

'Then I see what has been said by one of our own coaches and it upsets me. I will be looking to speak to Tony about this and when I do it will be man to man. This is serious. I expect much better.'

Boss Redknapp has stood by Stefanovic - who has also been the target for some crowd criticism after delaying an ankle operation last season to help Pompey beat relegation.

Redknapp said: 'Dejan should not be playing really with that injury but we've got nobody else to play left back except Matty Taylor and he's not well.'

Taylor, who has operated largely in midfield this season, has been sent for scans this week after a lingering virus which surfaced following a clash of heads with team-mate Sol Campbell in the draw with Fulham two weeks ago.

He missed the win over Watford and remains a major doubt for Sunday but right-winger Gary O'Neil (thigh), eight-goal Kanu (hamstring) and co-striker Benjani Mwaruwari (knee) are recovering well from injuries and could all feature against a Newcastle side which dumped Pompey out of the Carling Cup a month ago.

Defiant Redknapp, whose team climbed back to fourth in the table last weekend, insists: 'That result will have no bearing on this next match. It was played in farcical conditions.'