Kranjcar pleads for starting chance
Posted March 10, 2007on:
Niko Kranjcar pleaded with Harry Redknapp to give him the chance to help fire Pompey to Europe.
The Croatia international is desperate for Premiership games after starting just one since November.
Kranjcar revealed he liked playing behind two strikers best.
But he explained he was happiest wide on the left in Pompey’s favoured 4-4-2 set-up.
The 22-year-old is convinced Pompey can arrest their slump and still qualify for the UEFA Cup.
And he wants to play his part.
Redknapp has constantly lauded the creative talents of Kranjcar since his arrival from Hajduk Split for £2.3m in August.
But Pompey’s boss has struggled to squeeze the midfielder into the starting side, preferring to bring him off the bench on to the left side of midfield.
Kranjcar said: ‘My best position is behind two strikers. It’s the position I’ve played all my life. I’ve only ever played attacking football.
‘In the national team, when we play 4-4-2, I start the game on the left. But I do have freedom to come into the middle as much as I want, to help them create.
‘In a traditional 4-4-2 here, I’m happiest on the left.
‘I’m enjoying it here.
It’s getting towards the end of season and you’re happy with the minutes you get and try to use them as best you can. I’m patient.
‘That’s all I can be. Everyone who plays in sport wants to have a bigger goal.
‘From that point of view we all still think it is possible to finish in a position that will qualify us for Europe.
‘When I came to the club Pompey were top of the Premier League. So from that point of view I expected to go into Europe.
‘Like the fans, a couple of weeks ago we all believed that was reachable.
‘It’s still tight for the UEFA spots, and if we can start winning games again like we did at the beginning of the season, why not?
‘If we play like we did against Chelsea for the remaining games than we’ve got a good chance of doing that, fingers crossed.
‘Let’s take it game by game, do the best we can and see where it takes us.’
Pompey return from their spring break in Dubai tomorrow. And Kranjcar believes the spell away has helped reinvigorated the squad ahead of their final nines matches of the season.
He said: ‘Being away is good for team-bonding. We’re going to get even more focused towards the end of the season with the important games left.
‘We’ve got to gather ourselves together and try to finish the season like we began it.
‘We’re not satisfied with where we are in the table at the moment. We have to try to put in some big performances and push ourselves back up the table.’
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