Glenn Laughs Off Reports

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Glenn Roeder denies that there is any problem regarding Laurent Courtois and Paolo Di Canio after newspaper reports on Saturday that the pair had had a row.

One newspaper reporter, apparently oblivious to the hospitality of the club in being allowed into Upton Park on Friday, claimed there was 'an amazing car park row' between the pair, while another publication claimed there was an argument lasting 10 minutes between them - not true.

Neither was there the 'verbal barrage' that was reported, and the reality was, in fact, somewhat more mundane.

Laurent was in a team meeting at the ground on Friday and Glenn Roeder made a forceful point which, by virtue of an unwitting gesture, Laurent Courtois misunderstood completely.

It was, as they say, something and nothing, and Glenn, taking up the story, says:

"Paolo, as team captain, went out to get Laurent back, having realised there was a misunderstanding between me and him - he was doing his job as the skipper."

One paper even said the problem happened after training, but Glenn says:

"We all shook hands, went out and trained, and there was no problem - but the suggestion that Paolo was ranting and raving is pure fabrication and far-fetched.

"He was doing his captain's job, it was not a disagreement, it was a complete misunderstanding, Titi and Paolo had a word, and we all went out to train.

"Laurent recognised that it was a total mis-communication at the time, we carried on with the meeting, and went out to train.

"It happens in any walk of life that someone gets the wrong end of the stick but it was soon sorted out."

As for Paolo, Glenn says:

"Paolo is fit and looking forward to the game on Sunday like everyone else is; he is a very big player in the situation we are in because he doesn't play with fear - the bigger the game, the better he plays, and he's got the experience and the quality to handle the situation."

Of the overall problem of not having won at home, he says:

"You learn more about people in defeat than you do in victory, especially when it comes to character - a couple of players have surprised me because I didn't think they'd be the sort to show fear.

"There is a mental problem for some of the players and the first step to curing that is admitting it; I wish I could pick myself instead of some of them because I have no self doubt.

"I don't know the meaning of surrender; the only times I ever held my hands up as a player were to celebrate scoring a goal - and that wasn't very often.

"I accept responsibility for our current position and I want the fans to know I am as frustrated and angry as they are; the heat is on any manager in the bottom five and I have to accept that.

"But do I look nervous? Fear is an energy-sapping emotion, and it's a waste of time."

Glenn vows that the players will be rolling their sleeves up in the quest to get that first home win and he says:

"As much as our fans like to see attractive football, they also expect us to get tackles in - that's why they loved Julian Dicks so much, because he got his tackles in from the first minute and whipped up the crowd.

"We need one or two characters in this team who can do that and right now I would accept a strong, workmanlike win against Leeds - we must get back to basics and do the simple things well, not over-complicate matters.

"We've got to get the running and the aggression right and the football comes after that.

"We've been in touch with a sports psychologist called Dave Holsten for the last year, but I don't push the players into using him.

"A few players have taken up the offer, but not many - if you push people into doing things they don't want to, it can have a negative effect.

"We've got to sort our own lives out and it worries me if players want too many crutches to lean on; I want my team to stand up and be counted - there can be no hiding behind any excuses.

"We've talked about our problems enough and every time I send the team down the tunnel I think I'm going to get the right response, but so far it hasn't materialised and that has got to change now."