Skibbe frustrated with FIFA’s decision to suspend Manolas
During Monday’s press conference, Michael Skibbe expressed his frustration with FIFA’s decision to hand Kostas Manolas a one-match suspension for deliberately picking up a yellow card in September's qualifier away to Cyprus.
The German boss stated that FIFA’s decision was wrong, mentioning that players around the world pick up cards on purpose in the final minutes of a game to waste time without further consequences. He went on to say that the decision came four weeks after the incident further adding to FIFA’s unacceptable handling of the situation.
In Monday’s press conference before the start of Greece’s first training session Skibbe stated “Surely we have some problems. We are playing against Croatia, a very good team with very good players, especially in their attacking line, and because of that, we will have to put up a great fight. The team is ready for these matches. We have some injury problems and we do not know what will happen with Papastathopoulos and Torosidis as both are doubtful at this point for the first leg. We also have two players that will surely not be with us, including Donis and Mantalos, with the later having suffered a very serious injury which truly saddened me.
The other problem we have is Manolas’ suspension. Sometimes FIFA makes some “special” decisions and this one is “special.” I do not know how they decided this. We were winning 1:2 against Cyprus and in the final minutes of a game, every team across the world would tell its players to pick up a yellow card for time wasting. Every team wastes time. That is what happened with Manolas, he picked up a card late in the game against Cyprus and did not play against Gibraltar. And now FIFA decided, four weeks later, to punish him for something that ALL players do. What FIFA did was not right.
Despite that, we must play against Croatia and we must be ready. We have been working for two years for these matches and to go to Russia. We will play against Croatia, who has a very good team, but we will also fight with the players we have available in order to qualify for the World Cup.”