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Russia have thrown out midfielder Alexander Mostovoi from their Euro 2004 squad on Tuesday after he criticised Georgy Yartsev’s coaching methods.

Mostovoi blamed Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Spain on the vigorous training schedule and claimedthat Russia were heading for an early exit from the competition.

“The gentleman (Mostovoi) didn’t believe in the team’s chances and he made that public. I don’t consider that is acceptable from a player of his experience,” said Russian team press chief Alexander Chernov.

Mostovoi told Spanish radio station Onda Cero after their opening game: “We were totally shattered. I don’t think Spain were worked as hard as we were before this tournament.

“I’m really angry about it and I don’t think we’ll qualify now,” added Mostovoi, who plays his club football in Spain with Celta Vigo.

Valery Draganov, vice-president of the Russian Football Union, said the decision to fire Mostovoi was hasty.

“I really regret this decision, it does not help the team,” Draganov told Ekho Moskvy radio.

“Even if Mostovoi spoke out critically against the coach, I don’t think it is a reason for such a quick dismissal. We don’t have enough players of Mostovoi’s calibre — people like that are worth their weight in gold.”

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