Perth Glory’s Adrian Zahra has blasted a newspaper article which said he had branded coach Kenny Lowe’s team selections “outrageous”, and insists he was taken out of context.
Zahra was furious after being quoted by Thursday’s The West Australian newspaper following an interview with Perth radio station Sport FM on two days earlier.
The article claimed Zahra had hit out at Lowe’s “outrageous” team selection and was frustrated at being “thrown aside” after missing the past few games since the arrival of three new signings.
"I'm not pointing any fingers at anyone but I think team selection has been a bit of an outrageous one," Zahra was quoted in The West Australian from the Sport FM interview.
"We've got six or seven players there that came back into the squad all in one motion when they were all not 100 per cent fit. That was always going to take a bit of time and that's where myself and a few other players were obviously a bit frustrated because you have to sit there.
"The more games and the more training sessions they get the better they'll become. But in terms of right now, if we've got players that are underdone we have to have a look at ourselves and really put the best team out on the park."
Zahra was quoted as adding: "The feedback I got was that I added value when I was part of the squad and to be completely thrown aside because of a few fresh faces has been the pinnacle (sic) of this season."
However, today Zahra told FourFourTwo he had been misconstrued.
“They’ve blown this out of proportion and taken it well out of context,” Zahra said. “I know it sounds like me making excuses, but they’ve taken a few words, like frustrated and outrageous, and flipped it into something negative.”
He added: “I never thought that team selection has been outrageous. I reiterated exactly what Kenny has been saying, that players have been under done and unfit and they’ve come back and need time to adjust to our playing style.”
Zahra had only managed three appearances this season under former coach Ali Edwards, but has made six appearances since Lowe's appointment, and Zahra insisted he was fully supportive of his current coach.
“I’m 100 per cent behind him. Regardless of our results lately, he’s come in and demanded high demands,” Zahra said. “Ultimately he’s given me more of an opportunity to play this season than Alistair.
“To be that frustrated that I’ve missed the past three games is absurd. I’m definitely not as frustrated as they’ve made me out to be.”
Glory CEO Jason Brewer said he’d spoken to an “upset” and “embarrassed” Zahra over the phone several times on Thursday morning about the article and backed his player.
“If you listen to the entire interview and review the transcript, the way these quotes have been pulled out has been taken out of context,” Brewer said.
“It’s disappointing but I said to Adrian, ‘currently there’s negative connotations around the club and talk of infighting, so those comments are fine to come from the coach, but as a player you don’t want to come out with them, because they’ll be used in one way or another, whether rightly or wrongly’.
“The thing is he was on the radio Tuesday, nothing was picked up on Wednesday and yet it’s picked up on Thursday.”
Meanwhile, in further bad news for Zahra this week, he has suffered a sprained ankle in training after a tackle from William Gallas and will miss 1-2 weeks.