Bulgaria coach Markov comes under fire

October 16, 2008

SOFIA, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Beleaguered Bulgaria coach Plamen Markov was the target of more criticism from local media on Thursday after his side's 0-0 draw with Georgia in their 2010 World Cup qualifier.

Markov, in his second stint as Bulgaria coach, has come under fire after the Balkan country recorded their third consecutive draw in Group Eight.

Bulgaria had earned a point in a hard-fought goalless draw against Italy on Saturday but turned in a dull performance in Tbilisi on Wednesday.

Italy top the group with 10 points from four matches, followed by Ireland with seven points from three games. Bulgaria are third with three points from three matches.

"Another disgrace in Georgia," wrote the 7 dni sport daily on Thursday.

"We scrambled to a suicide draw and we were lucky not to lose," said the Novinar newspaper.

The 48-year-old Markov, who took over in January, knows his job is on the line.

"I admit that I couldn't motivate the team but we have to accept that this is our potential," he said. "I don't know if I'll be coach next spring.

"But it's not acceptable to play like this for Bulgaria. I should've made nine substitutions at halftime if that was possible."

Bulgaria failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup finals and the 2008 European championship finals and are desperate to avoid a third consecutive failure.