Bulgaria FA criticises Premier League players

October 14, 2008

SOFIA, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Bulgarian Football Union vice-president Yordan Lechkov has criticised the performances of the team's Premier League players during their goalless draw with Italy in the World Cup Group Eight qualifier on Saturday.

"I said that after the Albania game (a 0-0 home draw in a Euro 2008 qualifier), I'm saying it once again," former international Lechkov was quoted as saying in the Meridian Match daily on Tuesday.

"The leaders should give more than that. It's not serious to see (Dimitar) Berbatov running 2,000 metres during the whole match with the world champions.

"Stilian Petrov (Aston Villa) passed the ball back 20 times to Ivan Ivanov. Martin Petrov (Manchester City) has been recovering from injury for a whole month and he shouldn't play"

Manchester United striker Berbatov said Lechkov had not had the courage to talk to him directly but had spoken through the media.

"When I want to say something to someone I'm watching him in his eyes," Berbatov said.

Bulgaria visit Georgia on Wednesday in search of their first group win.

Italy top the standings with seven points from three matches, three points clear of Irealnd, who have played one fewer matches. Bulgaria are third with two points from two games.