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Danish coach Michael Laudrup has expressed surprise over his dismissal
Danish coach Michael Laudrup has expressed surprise over his dismissal as trainer of Spartak Moscow just four games into the 2009 Premier League season.

The Danish football legend was fired by the club late on Wednesday after a 3-0 defeat at home to cross-town rivals Dynamo Moscow in the quarterfinals of the Russian Cup. The club said in a statement that he had been sacked over "unsatisfactory results."

"I'm surprised by the decision. It's my view that you can't judge a trainer's work after just four or five games," Laudrup told TV2 Sporten.

On the subject of his future plans, he said, "Right now, I'm staying in Moscow. I have to clear up some issues with the Spartak board and then I'll be able to talk about my future."

Laudrup's dismissal followed a poor start to the season that has seen Russia's most successful side of the 1990s win just one of their opening five games. The season runs from March through November in Russia.

The Spartak statement added that the proposal to fire the Danish football legend had been made by Spartak general director Valery Karpin, who will take over as manager for the "near future." The 40-year-old former Spartak, Valencia, and Celta Vigo midfielder played for the Russian side from 1990-94 and was responsible for bringing Laudrup to Moscow.

"Above all, Laudrup's fate was decided by results. We lost 3-1 to FC Moskva [last weekend] in a league game and then, although our performance wasn't that bad, were catastrophically beaten by Dynamo 3-0 in the cup. The last defeat deprived us of any chance of a place in Europe," Karpin told Sport Express.

Spartak's defeat to Dynamo on Wednesday was the first time that the club had lost at home to the former secret police side in 20 years. All three goals came in the second half.

Laudrup, 44, is the sixth coach in as many years to be dismissed Spartak. When he took over the club last September, the side's fans were hopeful that the Dane could replicate the success of another foreign trainer, Zenit St. Petersburg's Dick Advocaat. However, Spartak struggled to find form toward the end of last season, and crashed out of the UEFA Cup at the group stages. Their forward line was particularly weakened by the sale of Roman Pavlyuchenko to Tottenham Hotspur just before Laudrup's arrival.

The team's next fixture - Karpin's first as caretaker manager - is a Premier League home match against Terek Grozny on Saturday.

Spartak Moscow's glory days came under the erratic genius of Oleg Romanstev, when the Red and Whites reached the semifinals of the Champions League, the UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup, and won the title every year but one from 1992 to 2001.


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