By Brian Homewood
NICE, France (Reuters) – Turkey coach Fatih Terim has absolved captain Arda Turan of blame for their opening Euro 2016 defeat by Croatia and complained about “nasty” criticism of his team’s performance.
Terim also refused to accept suggestions that Ozan Tufan was responsible for Croatia’s goal when he adjusted his hair seconds before Luka Modric scored the only goal.
Turkey face Spain in Group D on Friday needing to improve on their subdued first performance when the ineffective Turan, who has suffered from a lack of playing time with Barcelona this season, was taken off in the second half.
Terim understood the public were disappointed but that criticism had gone over the top.
“It’s not good only one player gets the whole responsibility and it’s not good to blame him, everyone should get responsibility,” he told reporters. “The attitude is that when we win it’s our country’s team and when we lose it’s my team.
“In our country it’s a bit nasty…when you lose they always exaggerate and invent stories and scenarios.”
There has also been criticism of 21-year-old midfielder Tuzan for sweeping his hair out of his face seconds before Modric netted.
“Ozan is a very young guy, that’s not why Croatia scored,” said Terim.
He added that Turkey deserved credit after a recent run of 13 games unbeaten and also complained about long faces in the media.
“The way some people react after losing only one game creates a negative impact on our team and that creates a problem for us. This team has enough credit to lose one, two, three or five games,” said Terim.
“We need to smile, there is no need to be tense and nervous and we have many reasons to smile.”
Terim said he would be happy with one point against Spain.
“If we get a draw we will have a good chance in our last game so a draw would be a good result for us,” he explained.
Turan took a similar approach.
“We have young players and they are doing their best but, after having a run of one defeat in 15 games, they shouldn’t have been criticised in such a nasty way,” he said.
“I criticised myself because I accepted my responsibility. I have nothing to prove.”
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)