Turkey coach Fatih Terim appeared to question the attitude of his players in a remarkable rant aimed at his critics ahead of his side’s Euro 2016 clash with Czech Republic.
Back-to-back defeats to Spain and Croatia, rumours about discontent within the squad and heavy criticism over the form of captain Arda Turan have all contributed to a dismal campaign in France so far for Terim’s side.
They face Czech Republic in Lens on Tuesday knowing that only a victory will keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 16 as one of the best third-placed sides in the group stage.
With the pressure on his position mounting, Terim pointed to a perceived lack of effort from his squad in their pre-tournament training camp and even took aim at a “professor of history” in a broadside aimed at his detractors.
“Yesterday I was there with my players in training,” he began. “I was a bit silent, but I’m a human being, you shouldn’t forget it. I have my emotions. It doesn’t mean I had a problem with my players.
“Before the tournament, our camp brought us many problems that we were not expecting. We didn’t have it in ideal circumstances. But there are some players growing up, getting experience, and I’m trying to improve their lives as a person and a player.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 17, 2016
“It was my call to pick these players and I’m trying to manage the whole process. I’m ready to take full responsibility. I did this before with Galatasaray and Turkey. I don’t want to talk about it, but as you asked, I’ll answer it. Nobody should hide, I’ll give my answers.
“I’m totally focused on tomorrow but my time to give answers will come. I’m frustrated, I’m a human being. Let’s finish the tournament. We’ll see what happens afterwards. There are no worries about that.
“It’s been an underachievement for us. We had a good run of 16, 17 games, even friendly games have been very demanding. We’ve played important sides. Then you compare it with these two games and there’s a big difference. We had high expectations with our squad but somehow they couldn’t fulfil that. We had some problems we couldn’t manage. We must admit that. But I hope we will correct our mistakes.”
He continued: “I heard them say Hakan Calhanoglu isn’t playing in the right position. I’ve been in this business 45, 46 years. I know some people don’t like me. But almost all the big achievements in Turkey were achieved by me. It can’t be a coincidence to have a good run of 15 games. But when it doesn’t work, you’re criticised.
“Nobody saw me dancing for joy – I’ve never done it in my life. My players are in good shape. I always keep my private life distant from my job. But the players should know that I am deeply upset. You can see it on my face. This is totally human. But I am the leader of this team and totally focused on my job.
— Joe Wright (@JoeWright004) June 20, 2016
“It’s important to give the correct message. The players are totally concentrated. This is our last chance. We’ll make it, or we won’t. But we have to improve, to develop our game.
“It’s not fair to say that my players are upset if I am, too. We can smile, get angry, be upset, but I’m not the one who should be ashamed. The ones who put us in this position should be ashamed of what they’ve been doing. Everybody has his own idea on a philosophy. I hope one day they have their own squad to manage.
“I have to laugh, but I’m not capable. This is really funny. All these rumours, criticism about positions, formation. But it’s not the right time to talk about it. Very soon, I will face them, and they will get their share.
“Let me give you an example. TRT, our public TV. This professor of history dares to criticise us, on a show which is not related to football. I have many friends, professors, academics, but when I ask them about football, mostly they say it’s not their business. But on TRT, we’ve been criticised. That’s why I’m upset. That’s why I’m frustrated.
“I was expecting to have some problems because it can happen in a camp before a major tournament. But I talk to my players as well. I was expecting them to prepare themselves before the tournament, you can’t do it during the tournament. Sometimes the circumstances in our country make it difficult. Of course there are many things that I can’t say in front of the media. I was expecting my players to reach their top level. I hope they will make it tomorrow.
“We have two options: we say it’s over, or that it’s not. Our motto is: it’s not over until we say it’s over. You can be sure that I’ll do
the necessary thing to remind my players of that.
“If we get out of this crisis to create a new opportunity for us, we can go far.”