Fulham’s Stefan Johansen was included in Lars Lagerbäck’s Norway squad for the fixtures against Faroe Islands and Malta, but was forced to withdraw last Friday due to injury.
A day later, the midfielder played the entire match for the Cottagers during their 1-0 win over Birmingham City and this left Lagerbäck’s assistant Per Joar Hansen surprised.
Hansen had stressed he is unaware why the 28-year-old featured for his club, and said only the Championship side will be able to provide an explanation.
A potential conflict between club and country over player’s fitness has now been ruled out after Lagerbäck provided a detailed explanation about Johansen’s injury situation.
“For me, there is no fuss. Definitely not. Stefan has a knee problem that needs to be treated medically,” the Norway boss told TV2.
“He has been able to play with pain, so the injury would not worsen, but he needs to get treatment and then rest for a few weeks, so for me it is quite natural.
“Last time I talked to Stefan he did not know that he was going to play this weekend, but I have full understanding and respect that the manager considers it best to let him play in the situation they are in. I have full understanding of that decision.”
Johansen has been struggling with a knee injury and Lagerbäck stressed the pain hinders the Fulham player from giving his best on the pitch.
When asked if his comments on the Norway captain would send a wrong signal to other players, the Swede said: “No, if you look at Stefan’s situation in the long term, then the most important thing for both him and the national team is that he will recover.
“He can’t play at 100 percent, he’s in pain all the time, so the only opportunity now is to treat the injury. I think they give him a couple of syringes, and then he has to rest for a few weeks.
“We must have an understanding of the club situation, but in the long run it is better that we have a healthy Stefan than he goes around dragging on such damage over a long period of time.”