TFC's Winter blasts media

Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter speaks with the media. (Richard Lam/QMI Agency Files)

Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter speaks with the media. (Richard Lam/QMI Agency Files)

Ryan Wolstat, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:46 PM ET

Any problems Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter has with defender Nana Attakora are strictly based on his play, Winter insisted on Friday afternoon.

Rumours have persisted that the Dutchman has nailed Attakora to the bench largely because he declined to sign a new contract with the club this off-season. Attakora, who made the league minimum in 2010, is eligible to field offers starting next month and can play out his contract with TFC and go elsewhere next season.

On Thursday, Attakora’s agent told cbcsports.ca he believed Attakora was being punished for refusing to negotiate.

Nonsense, said Winter, who railed against the media for “searching for problems.”

“Some of you are writing pieces, they’re not well-informed,” he said.

Winter said Attakora has not played as well this season as he did during a strong 2010 campaign and has also been bothered by injury.

“I still have confidence in Nana ... I’m reading all those things but it’s different.

“I have spoken a lot of times with Nana, he knows what I think of him. I like him. At this moment I’m not satisfied because he’s not playing well. Right now, that’s fair. You have a big roster, those fit (and playing well) should play, no more than that and no less than that.”

The coach seems to be having some trouble adapting to the differences in media coverage in Toronto versus Holland though.

“For me, it’s a pity because I want to work in circumstances that are very quiet. But you are all creating the problems for nothing,” he said.

The problem, to these eyes at least, was that the coach did not draw a difference in rightly chastising erroneous reports — like the one last week that said Attakora, who was actually sick, had been traded — with those, like the CBC report, that had proper attribution.

What he will quickly learn is that off-field drama has hovered over this franchise like a black cloud since Day One and has shown no sign of evaporating, even though Mo Johnston and Preki are no longer part of the landscape.

For his part, Attakora, who did not travel with the team for Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to FC Dallas, said he also does not like all of the attention, but is trying to deal with it like a professional and work his way back into Winter’s good graces.

Attakora said he didn’t feel his performance has been as poor as some have maintained.

“I had two games where you could say they’re not my best, but every player has those, nobody’s going to be perfect,” he said.

“I felt the performances weren’t as bad as people made them out to be but that’s what people do. I’ve moved on from it. That’s life, that’s how the game works. I didn’t go (to Texas) for whatever reason, I take it and I move on. I’m back in training and looking to get back on the team (for Saturday’s meeting with the Chicago Fire).”

Attakora intoned things are being blown out of proportion because he is the longest-serving member of the club and had a fine season last year.

“Any other player I don’t think people would be making this big of a deal, but because it’s me, because of the season I had last year, people speculate,” he said.

Attakora has played in just four of 10 games this season.

As for his future?

“Whatever will happen, will happen and then I know I’m working hard, I know I’m doing my best for the club and just good luck to them,” said the North York native.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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