Diego dropped after costly error

BY foxsports • February 8, 2011

Pierre Littbarski has made his authority clear on his first day as Wolfsburg coach by dropping controversial star Diego.

Diego ignored team orders in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Hannover and missed a penalty which he should not even have taken, and the result proved to be costly for former England boss Steve McClaren, who was sacked on Monday.

Littbarski's first decision as the new head coach of the Wolves has been to exclude Diego from selection for the weekend's clash with Hamburg as a result of what happened at the Niedersachsen Stadion on Saturday.

"Diego will not play," said Littbarski.

"I have suspended him for one game due to the incidents in our last game."

Littbarski insisted that depriving his side of their record signing should not be such a big deal and that the player should use the weekend to consider his own actions.

"We are not Diego FC," he said.

"He now has to rethink things and this should be like a kick in the teeth for him."

Littbarski also warned the squad to expect a tougher stance from him as he looks to revive the fortunes of the 2009 Bundesliga champions. Wolfsburg are just one point above the relegation zone with 13 games of the season remaining.

"It is not about me becoming a pseudo-strongman, but I have got to clamp down on a few things," he said.

"I can assure you that we will come down hard on anything else which happens or if anybody else steps out of line."

Littbarski, who was appointed as McClaren's assistant in the summer and who had also been working as the Englishman's interpreter, has been handed the reins until May.

He led his first training session this morning, but other names are already being linked with the club.

Ralf Rangnick, Martin Jol, Huub Stevens and Lucien Favre are the first candidates to emerge, however managing director Dieter Hoeness has given Littbarski his backing to lead the club to safety.

"We hope to have the same result as last year with Lorenz-Gunther Kostner and our aim is to move away from the relegation zone," he said.

"There is still a lot of work necessary and I hope that Pierre Littbarski works successfully.

"The issue was who would take over now, and all of the other questions can be answered in the coming weeks and months."

Hoeness informed McClaren that his tenure had come to an end by telephone yesterday afternoon.

"After Saturday's game, we held lots of talks and considered everything and then we decided that we would go separate ways and I called him to inform him," explained Hoeness to Sport1 television.

"It was not easy for me. Usually I prefer to do things like this in person, but there was no other way round it this time."

According to reports, Hoeness could not deliver the news in person because McClaren was already flying back to England, aware of what was coming.

And Hoeness added that it had been a mistake making McClaren the first English coach in the Bundesliga in the first place.

"I have to take responsibility for that," he said. "It was the wrong decision."

Littbarski becomes the fourth new Wolfsburg coach since Hoeness arrived at the club just 13 months ago and he hopes it will be the right one at last.

"The existence of Wolfsburg is on the line," he said with more than a glimpse of concern.

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