Berra: Players are behind Levein

  • Last Updated: October 17 2012, 16:11 BST

Defender Christophe Berra still believes Scotland are moving in the right direction under Craig Levein despite sitting rock bottom of their World Cup qualifying group.

Christophe Berra: Happy with direction under Levein

Defeat to Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday night leaves the Scots with just two points from four games - the only nation in the section without a win so far - and little hope of booking a place at Brazil in 2014.

Levein was criticised following last month's double-header after opening the campaign with draws against Serbia and Macedonia at Hampden.

And the pressure on the manager has only intensified in the wake of Friday's defeat in Wales and the 2-0 loss in Belgium.

But, even if the headlines do not make kind reading for Levein today, Berra claims the players still have faith in his ability as national team boss.

He said: "In club football, international football, whatever line of work you are in, if you're not getting results, there is going to be speculation that puts people under pressure.

"But the boys enjoy being in the squad, training and playing, and we're going in the right direction.

"The boys like working under the manager and I think he's done well for us.

"I know it's a results-based game but we think, at the moment, we've got one of the most talented Scottish groups for a long time.

"In the end, we are the ones who go on the pitch and try to win the games."

The Wolves centre-half added: "If you ask anyone, everyone likes turning up.

"It's a media-driven world at times and whatever makes the back pages, the fans will read, the whole country will read and they will take their views from that.

"But you've got to take the views of the players and we all enjoy it and feel we are going in the right direction and just need that bit of luck.

"It's a results-driven business but we are all behind the manager."

Levein stated in his post-match press conference that he had no intention of walking away from the job, although that decision may well be taken out of his hands by the Scottish Football Association in the coming days.

Berra said: "They just need to ask the players.

"The players enjoy turning up, there aren't as many call-offs as there used to be in the past.

"We've got a bright group of players and we are all fighting for the right cause. There is no-one turning up who isn't giving 100 per cent. We all are."

Berra is realistic enough to realise that Scotland now have little hope of salvaging the campaign following such a poor start in what was always going to be a difficult group.

But he still feels aggrieved at some of the decisions by match officials which have resulted in their lowly status - particularly Steven Fletcher's disallowed goal when the Scots were leading in Wales before eventually losing 2-1.

On their qualification hopes, Berra said: "Let's be honest, if we were neutrals looking at it, it doesn't look good.

"But we've not had the luck in the past.

"We can't always blame that but if you look at the Macedonia game, it ended 1-1 and their goal was clearly a yard offside. It was a bad decision by the officials.

"In the Wales game, we were 1-0 up and Fletch scored and it was a terrible decision by the officials.

"These are big decisions and they can't afford to get these decisions wrong.

"At 2-0 up, we would probably have won the game and we would have come here in a different frame of mind.

"Even getting beat in this game, we would have been sitting with five points in the group and it wouldn't have been that bad.

"In football, there are small margins and sometimes you need a bit of luck and decisions to go your way and they didn't.

"We are not making excuses but, if you look at two or three games in the past - against the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Wales - big decisions have gone against us.

"If that was someone like Spain, there would be a lot more being said about it. But we are a small nation so it might not get as much media coverage.

"They were big decisions but sometimes you've just got to lick your wounds and get on with it."

Levein's future as national team manager will be the subject of considered discussions by the Scottish Football Association board and there will be no knee-jerk reaction, chief executive Stewart Regan has said.

Regan said: "Now is not the time to be making announcements and decisions. That's something that'll happen over the course of the next few days.

"It's important to look at the situation and allow those involved to actually put their thoughts across the table.

"It's important that we actually sit down, look at the facts and then decide on the next steps.

"When we've had a chance to do that then we'll decide what happens next."


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