Wales manager John Toshack claims some of his players are spoilt, pampered and lacking in professional pride. As Toshack prepares his squad for tonight's Euro 2008 qualifier against San Marino, arguably the weakest national team in Europe, the 58-year-old spoke out for the first time since Wales' 3-1 defeat in Cyprus on Saturday.
Toshack had said nothing since his remarkable post-match outburst in Nicosia, in which he cast doubt on his own position, until today's emotional speech which will touch a nerve for many football fans who might be growing cynical of modern players.
He said: "The players will say they do care, and it is rubbish to say they don't. But did it look like they cared? It didn't look like it to me.
"I was in charge of that team, and people will look at me and wonder what I was doing. That hurts my pride. I would hope that some of them feel the same – but I am not sure that they do."
Toshack insists he has not considered resigning and he does not believe the squad are no longer playing for him.
"Things went on out in Cyprus that made me wonder what we had been doing for two-and-a-half years," said Toshack. "I did question the attitude of some of the players. But it has not entered into my head that they are not playing for me. If anyone knows different let me know – it might help us. I didn't get that feeling when I talked to the players individually. But Cyprus was not acceptable.
"This is a young group, and sometimes I don't like some of the things I see. Sometimes I feel that there are some who take it for granted. I don't like that and won't accept it.
"There are fans who paid good money to go to Cyprus, went home to do a shift and then pay money again to come to San Marino for another game," he pointed out.
"I don't like to think that my team performed the way they did in Cyprus for those fans – and they need reminding that not everyone is as fortunate as the players are. They let themselves down, not me."
Wales (possible, 4-4-2): Coyne (Tranmere Rovers); Ricketts (Hull City), Morgan (Peterborough), Gabbidon (West Ham), Nyatanga (Barnsley); Bale (Tottenham), Davies (Fulham), Robinson (Toronto), Ledley (Cardiff City); Earnshaw (Derby), Bellamy (West Ham)
Remaining fixtures: Today: Germany v Czech Republic; Rep of Ireland v Cyprus; San Marino v Wales. 17 Nov: Czech Republic v Slovakia; Germany v Cyprus; Wales v Rep of Ireland. 21 Nov: Cyprus v Czech Republic; Germany v Wales; San Marino v Slovakia.Reuse content