We'll beat Michelotti 6-0, boasts Wimbledon manager
WIMBLEDON breezed into Hongkong with manager Joe Kinnear predicting a 6-0 roasting for Michelotti when the sides meet in a friendly at Mongkok tomorrow.
The English Premier League side arrived yesterday without their two biggest names - tough-tackling defender Vinny Jones and striker John Fashanu.
But that did not deter Kinnear from throwing down the gauntlet to Sammy Yu, manager of Hongkong First Division side Michelotti.
''We know other English sides - Manchester City, Aston Villa and Everton - all came to Hongkong and lost. We're going to win.
''We're going to be much too good for Michelotti. We're going to win, I'd say, 6-0.'' But Kinnear will settle for 2-0. He says: ''Me and Sammy have got a side bet on for GBP5,000 - I lose if Wimbledon don't win by at least two goals.'' This was no ordinary press conference, but then Wimbledon, dubbed ''the Crazy Gang'', are no ordinary team, and Kinnear clearly enjoyed playing the role of a boxing promoter hyping up a contest.
Tomorrow's match is for the King Koil Invitation Cup and will be decided on penalties if the sides are level after 90 minutes, the victors collecting a winner-takes-all prize of a $50,000.
But Kinnear says: ''We've already spent it.'' And the GBP5,000 wager with Yu? ''We'll spend that Friday night''.
However, Yu was equal to the light-hearted pre-match sparring: ''Why do you think we chose 3 pm for the kick-off? - it'll be too hot and humid for the Wimbledon players.'' Kinnear is undeterred that Wimbledon will be without Jones, who stayed in England to have a double hernia operation; and Fashanu, who is unable to link up with the team after acting as the English FA's representative at this week's funeral for the Zambian soccer team wiped out in an air crash.
''We've brought the strongest side we had available and it will still be far too strong for Michelotti. We've got eight internationals.'' That's a touch misleading - most of the ''internationals'' won their caps at youth level.
But there is no doubting the pedigree of a team which this season achieved the double over Arsenal and Liverpool, was one of only two teams to win away to champions Manchester United, and finished a highly creditable 12th in the table.
Striker Dean Holdsworth was the second highest goalscorer in the Premier League with 19 goals, just behind Spurs' Teddy Sheringham.
They also have goalkeeper Hans Segars, a former Dutch international, and forward Lawrie Sanchez, who hit the winning goal when they beat Liverpool 1-0 to lift the FA Cup in 1988.
Michelotti have been strengthened by three guest players - Spurs' captain Gary Mabbutt and Queen's Park Rangers forward Garry Thompson, who both arrived last night, and Eastern goalkeeper Iain Hesford.