Almunia hits out at Lehmann

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Manuel Almunia has criticised Arsenal goalkeeping rival Jens Lehmann, claiming the German is in decline and should be offering him more support.

The Spaniard has usurped Lehmann's number one spot at Highbury in recent weeks, although, in truth, he has failed to impress since being given his chance.

Lehmann has made no secret of his unhappiness at being relegated to the bench and has publicly insisted he should be reinstated by Wenger.

Almunia believes his team-mate should being showing more solidarity to the Arsenal cause by backing him, and admits he has virtually no relationship to speak of with the German.

"He (Lehmann) is one of the best goalkeepers in Europe, used to playing at big clubs, being an international and a key player," Almunia told AS.

"But when you have done everything, it is hard to admit that you are in decline.

"He is a classic German, hard, one of those who only wants to win, and that is not possible all the time.

"I respect him, but we don't have much close contact to be honest.

"What's more I don't understand him; when he was playing I was right behind him, at his side.

"In Spain we are different: a good relationship between goalkeepers is very normal as you spend a lot of time together and do the same job.

"Lehmann does not help me at all."

Almunia also had words of solace for compatriot Ricardo who finds himself out in the cold at Manchester United.

He insists his compatriot is the best goalkeeper on the books at Old Trafford, and should be getting the nod over Roy Carroll from Sir Alex Ferguson.

"We speak a lot and he (Ricardo) is frustrated because he is not playing at Manchester United," he continued.

"I would play him instead of (Roy) Carroll, of course. Not because he is a nice guy, which he is, but because he is better."