Euro 2012 campaign

Jovanovic backs Antic to stay on as Serbia boss

August 10, 2010
By Soccernet staff

New Liverpool signing Milan Jovanovic has backed under pressure Serbia coach Radomir Antic ahead of Wednesday night's friendly against Greece.

Radomir Antic and Milan Jovanovic
GettyImagesSerbia coach Radomir Antic congratulates his match-winner Milan Jovanovic

Antic's position has been the subject of much speculation since Serbia were knocked out the World Cup in the group stage earlier this summer, despite recording a 1-0 victory over eventual semi-finalists Germany.

Wednesday night's Belgrade clash is rumoured to be Antic's last game in charge, with one of the key issues being the four-match touchline ban he was handed for his behaviour in the aftermath of their World Cup exit following their 2-1 defeat to Australia.

The ban means he will have to sit in the stands for the opening four games of Serbia's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, with Serbian FA president Tomislav Karadzic saying: "Serbia must have a coach for the first four qualifying matches.''

But Jovanovic says the playing squad will do all they can to keep Antic in his job. He told Blic: "All this surrounding Antic has been very emotional for me. As a player, I don't want to make any comments on some dirty business, but I do have a position.

"Still, whatever I say, my words will have another dimension to them. I am only a soldier of the national team and every one of them are above me in the hierarchy - the head coach, the backroom staff, the FA officials.

"I could live with not having Antic on the bench for the first four games. We are given instructions ahead of the game and know what to do out there on the pitch.''

Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic agreed, adding: "I would love him to stay, he has created a fine group of players and the atmosphere in the team is fantastic. My wish is to see him as Serbia coach in the future, but the decision is not up to me.''