Safri out of Africa and out of shape

Last updated : 09 February 2006 By Rick Lamb
City boss Nigel Worthington has bemoaned the lack of match fitness of Moroccan midfielder Youssef Safri on his return from international duty.

Safri was involved in all three matches of the Atlas Lions' unsuccessful African Nations Cup campaign , which saw them paired with eventual finalists Ivory Coast and Egypt in the group stages. Morocco failed to score in any of their matches.

But the former Coventry man has suffered from 'average and low key training' while in Egypt, according to those who pay his wages.

"I had a good chat with him and the biggest thing which disappoints me is that he's gone away and the training has been average and low key," Worthington said of his talismanic playmaker. "That's no help to him in terms of losing fitness. That was noticeable on Sunday."

Worthington called for his most influential middle man to put things right by putting himself about.

"He knows he's got to get stuck in up against people. He can't just sit off and expect to win the ball. He needs to outmuscle and outplay his opponent."

Safri, without whom the Canaries have failed to win so far in 2006, still looks likely to feature heavily in Saturday's visit to Hull City.