Roberto Martinez hits out at ‘astonishing’ Belgium media for ‘jumping on fake news’ about bust-up

Martinez on Belgium Credit: Alamy
Martinez on Belgium Credit: Alamy

Roberto Martinez has hit out at Belgium media for “jumping on fake news” when it comes to a reported bust-up involving several players.

Belgium were among the favourites to win the World Cup but they have endured a difficult start to this year’s competition in Qatar.

Martinez’s side were far from their best in their opener as they just about did enough to beat Canada 1-0. Michy Batshuayi scored the game’s only goal against the run of play.

But on Sunday, they fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at the hands of Morocco.

This leaves Belgium third in Group F with one game to go. Belgium sit on three points while Croatia and Morocco are ahead of them on four.

Belgium need to beat Croatia on Thursday night to advance to the knockout stages. They have a worse goal difference than the teams above them and you would back Morocco to at least draw against Canada.

In the aftermath of the Morocco defeat, it was reported that Kevin De Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen and Eden Hazard had to be pulled apart by Romelu Lukaku following a heated bust-up.

Martinez moved to quash this “fake news” on Wednesday. He also took aim at the media in Belgium for “jumping on” this story.

“You’ve got some outlets in Belgium who are quite happy to jump on fake news, which is quite astonishing,” Martinez told reporters on Wednesday.

“It has made the group more aware that the less they listen to the noise from the outside, the better.

“A World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world and there are many World Cups getting played.

“You can see that maybe a country like France did a good job with a story that became the main talking point of the outlets in Belgium.

“It shows that maybe there is more desire to find negative news around this team than get the nation together, support this team, enjoy the talent of the best generation that we’ve ever had in Belgian football.

“That was a lesson for all of us that we are here on our own. We are here to fight for what we believe is the way we want to play and hopefully the fans – the real fans – of the Red Devils can enjoy the process.”

Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois meanwhile has confirmed that there was a confrontation and the players “solved everything together”.

“We said things to each other, and sometimes it feels good. I don’t think we missed it, but it’s one thing to talk to each other at the table or individually or to talk in a group, to solve everything together,” Courtois said (as reported by Walfoot).

“The problem, it’s that what’s said in the press isn’t always the truth. Whoever leaked this? We don’t need to know that. If it gets out, it’s his last day in the national team.”

He added: ‘There are no problems in the team, it’s just an external attempt to create problems internally.”

READ MORE: De Bruyne the biggest culprit as ‘too old’ Belgium are actually just a bit sh*t


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