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Turkey's 'deeply upset' Terim lambasts critics

Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Turkey Training - Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France - 20/6/16 - Turkey head coach Fatih Terim during training session. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Turkey Training - Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens, France - 20/6/16 - Turkey head coach Fatih Terim during training session. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

By Philip O'Connor

LENS, France (Reuters) - Turkey coach Fatih Terim launched a broadside at his critics and even sounded disenchanted with some of his own players on the eve of their must-win final Group D game against the Czech Republic in Lens on Tuesday.

After overseeing losses to Croatia and Spain, Terim, who knows only a victory realistically offers Turkey any chance of qualification, sounded like a man under pressure on Monday as he complained of being "deeply upset and frustrated".

Yet he then turned the attack back on those who have been criticising him and even appeared to aim a swipe at unnamed players that he intimated had come unprepared to the tournament.

"I was expecting to have some problems, because it can happen in a camp before a major tournament," Terim told a media conference.

"But I talk to my players as well, I was expecting them to prepare themselves before the tournament. You cannot prepare during the tournament.

"I was expecting my players to reach their top level in Europe. I hope that they will make it tomorrow. And I hope that they will prove themselves in the pitch."

The 62-year-old Terim also hit back at an unnamed professor who had criticised him on Turkish state channel TRT.

"He dares to talk about the national team and criticise us -- a professor of history! On a show which is not related to football!" Terim said.

"I have many friends who are professors and academics. When I ask them something about football, they mostly say that this is not their business, but on TRT we are being criticised by a professor of history!

"That's why I'm upset and frustrated."

As for criticism aimed at him personally, Terim was not about to accept it.

"I am not the one who should be ashamed of what he has been doing. The ones who put us in this position should be ashamed of what they have been doing," he said, without elaborating on who he was referring to.

Terim assured reporters that, despite his anger at how the team was being treated, they were focussed and ready to face the Czechs.

"We have two options -- either it's over or it's not over. Our motto over here is 'it's not over until it's over', and you can be sure I will remind the players of this," he said.

Czech boss Pavel Vrba was a lot more tight-lipped than his Turkish counterpart when he spoke to the media, and would not name the player he has chosen to replace injured playmaker Tomas Rosicky.

Asked if he had any doubts about how to cope with the loss of the influential Rosicky to a thigh injury, Vrba said he had none.

"I didn't doubt, I didn't choose, I decided immediately," he said of Rosicky's replacement.

The Czech Republic must win to either overhaul Croatia for second place or finish as one of the best four third-placed sides, though, mathematically, it is also possible if unlikely that a draw might be enough for them to make the knockout stage.

"Obviously he (Rosicky) is a big loss, he's a key player, and the other players will have to step up," goalkeeper Petr Cech told reporters. "Our strength is our team play, we don't have any stars."

Vrba also said he would be making other changes to his starting lineup, but again declined to elaborate.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ian Chadband)

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