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Sanchez: Worthington must go

Former Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez believes the team have gone backwards under Nigel Worthington and claims the "writing is on the wall" for his successor following Tuesday night's 4-1 defeat against Estonia.

A series of individual blunders at the back gifted the hosts a handsome victory in the Group C clash in Tallinn that effectively ended Northern Ireland's hopes of a Euro 2012 play-off place.

Worthington admitted after the match that he was braced for the criticism that would come his way, and there was certainly plenty of that coming from Sanchez. The Barnet manager, who also reiterated his desire to return to the role one day, told BBC Radio Ulster: "Nigel has had enough cracks at it. Everybody sees the writing is on the wall."

He added: "He is not doing an exceptional job. It's not happening. It has got worse rather than better. Everybody realises it is time for a change."

The 51-year-old, who guided Northern Ireland to a high of 27th before stepping down to take over as Fulham boss in 2007, continued: "I have always said I would like to finish what I started.

"I would like the opportunity. I would like to return to Northern Ireland in the future."

Woeful lapses in concentration from goalkeeper Lee Camp and defender Gareth McAuley were responsible for two of Estonia's four goals, with the consolation effort coming only when Raio Piiroja put the ball past his own keeper.

Comprehensive defeat to a nation ranked 86th in the FIFA rankings - 27 spots below Northern Ireland - will have hurt Worthington's side but, having lost to Serbia on Friday too, it also left them fifth in the pool and with virtually no hope of salvaging a play-off spot.


From Belfast Telegraph