After a string of poor results, Nemanja Matic has threatened to quit playing for the Serbian national team, questioning the work ethic of his teammates.
Serbia finished in fourth place out of five teams in EURO qualifying, failing to earn a berth at the tournament next summer. The last time Serbia qualified for the European Championship was in 2000, then competing as Yugoslavia.
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Matic’s Serbia also failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, and after falling to the Czech Republic 4-1 in a friendly on Friday, Matic said he has had enough with the poor play and attitude of the national team.
I always try to lead by example but some people don’t want to see that.
The attitude of some players is unacceptable, not just on the pitch but off it too, and it was obvious from the moment we got together on Monday.
I told our coach [Radovan Curcic] there is no point in me carrying on with the national team if things don’t change.
I’d really like to know whether some of my team-mates apply the same poor working ethic at their clubs as they do in the national team most of the time.
It’s not just Matic who is upset with the team, as Serbian director Savo Milosevic said the players’ “lack of commitment is quite simply indefensible.”
Matic, 27, has earned 26 caps for the national team, and has had some issues previously. In 2012, he refused to play under then-manager Sinisa Mihajlovic, taking nearly a year off from international play.