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Ballack has no regrets over Loew criticism

sports Updated: Feb 09, 2009 19:36 IST

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Germany captain Michael Ballack insists he has no regrets after last autumn's criticism of national coach Joachim Loew as his side prepare for Wednesday night's friendly against Norway.

Ballack accused Loew of failing to show his senior players enough respect and loyalty last October after leaving veteran Torsten Frings on the bench for the aumtumn's World Cup friendlies.

But in a press conference here Monday Ballack said he did not regret his comments, despite later issuing an apology.

"I do not regret what I was constructive criticism", said Chelsea star Ballack.

"The team is sturdy, everyone knows each other, we all want to continue to pull in the same direction, to win matches and to be criticised when we don't achieve that."

Ballack will captain Germany and win his 90th cap on Wednesday, but says he is as prepared to take criticism as he is to give it.

"I have no problem with those (in the squad) who criticise me, I have no problem with that," said the 32-year-old.

After his thinly-disguised attack on Loew, Ballack was summonsed to explain his comments to the coach in person and issued an apologetic statement.

Since leading his side to a 1-0 defeat by Spain in the Euro 2008 final last June, Ballack has had surgery on his feet and played in just two of Germany's last six games.

Along with Frings, he was absent for the last Germany match the 2-1 defeat by England at Berlin's Olympic Stadium in November.

Both Frings and Ballack are fit to face Norway.

"They are very important for us, a team needs some experienced players that reassure by the young players around them," said Loew in an interview with German newspaper die Welt at the weekend.

"The problems have been resolved, I have worked with them since 2004, we have a good relation even if there have been tensions."