Euro 2012: Twitter ban reaction irks Denmark coach
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -Banning his players from using social media during the European Championship didn't make Morten Olsen seem less of a grumpy old man.
Some of his players thought he was being too strict. Danish commentators said he was out of touch with the times.
But the "biggest problem,'' according to Olsen, was when Danish culture minister Uffe Elbaek weighed in, questioning whether barring players from posting on Twitter and Facebook was a violation of the freedom of speech.
"He (Elbaek) thought he had to say something about it,'' Olsen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "He doesn't have to say anything about it. Because he doesn't understand how to make a football team.''
If the Twitter ban reflects Olsen's old-fashioned ways, it also points to his determination. He stands by his decisions, regardless of how the players or newspapers react.
"In a team there will always be one or two that don't agree with the decisions. We are 23 players. We have to have some rules,'' Olsen said. "I'm not in a job where I have to please everyone.''
Olsen doesn't come across as a bundle of laughs, with his stern gaze and professorial glasses. He rarely smiles when the cameras are rolling. But he's widely respected in the Danish team for his tactical skills, focus and discipline.
"Morten plays with a clear set of rules and strict principles and we've all adapted well,'' Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner told UEFA. "I'm very pleased with the way we're doing things and the way Morten views football. He's an intelligent coach and an intelligent man. And that rubs off on all of us.''
A former Denmark defender, Olsen has emphasized efficiency over flair in his 12-year tenure as coach of the national team.
Denmark has qualified for two European Championships and two World Cups under Olsen's leadership. But he's faced criticism at times from those who say Denmark should play with more creativity, like when the Laudrup brothers tore up opposing defenses with nifty combinations.
"They are wrong,'' Olsen said. "In the qualifying, we played good combination football. We scored some nice goals.''
But Danes cannot expect the national team to always play entertaining football, not if they want to win, he added.
"To qualify you don't have to play good football. You have to be stable. That's what's important in international games. If you lose one game your are out,'' he said.
"It's always a question of what will we need to break down the opponent. It is different playing against San Marino and Germany. You have to be realistic.''
Denmark will face Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands in what many consider the most difficult group at Euro 2012.
Just like at the 2010 World Cup, Denmark opens against the Netherlands, but this time Olsen hopes for a better outcome. His team lost 2-0 in South Africa after an own-goal smashed Denmark's chances early in the second half.
"I think it was decided at that moment,'' Olsen said. "The first goal in such a game is so important.''
Ritter reported from Stockholm.
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