Klinsmann to spend more time in Germany

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BERLIN, Mar 12 (Reuters) Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann answered his critics by saying today he would spend most of his time in Germany from now until the start of the World Cup finals on June 9.

''I know my duties and my plan was always to be in Germany in the last months before the World Cup,'' Klinsmann told the German Football Association (DFB) website.

''I will still fly to my family in California now and again'', he added.

Klinsmann is facing growing criticism in Germany for his decision to keep living in the United States.

Since taking the top job in August 2004, he has been commuting between his native country and his home in southern California.

The former Germany striker, under scrutiny since a 4-1 friendly defeat by Italy on March 1, has been scolded by Franz Beckenbauer for missing a two-day World Cup workshop in Duesseldorf that ended on Tuesday.

''There was a private reason for me not being in Duesseldorf for the workshop,'' Klinsmann said in today's statement.

''That week was just a year after the death of my father and I had promised my mother long ago that we would spend that hard time for her together in California''.

Klinsmann arrived in Germany from California today and was to attend a Bundesliga game between Schalke 04 and Eintracht Frankfurt later in the day. He was planning to stay in the country at least until a friendly international against the United States on March 22 in Dortmund.

German soccer officials had turned up the pressure on Klinsmann over the past few days, saying he should spend more time in Germany.

''He (Klinsmann) must be closer to the team and must be more present in Germany,'' DFB chief executive Theo Zwanziger told Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

''The question of how present in Germany Klinsmann is has an effect on the atmosphere in this country,'' said Zwanziger, suggesting that the former Tottenham forward's popularity could suffer if he stayed away.

Reuters PDS DB2001

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