Beleaguered Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic has asked for support from the Swiss public after days of recriminations following a heavy defeat to Italy in the European Championship.
He made his appeal in an open letter published in the Swiss newspaper “Schweiz am Wochenende” on Saturday, ahead of his side’s must-win Group A clash against Turkey in Baku on Sunday.
After drawing with Wales and then being demolished 3-0 by Italy, the side has been under fire at home – exacerbated by a controversy over a hairdresser being flown from Zurich to Rome to coiffure captain Granit Xhaka before the Italy match.
The skipper, with a new blond look, was among the players who failed to impress in Rome and who have been lambasted in the days since, including criticism for not facing up to the media the day after the defeat.
Petkovic expressed regret for the disappointing performance and appealed to the Swiss for support “from all of you”.
“We wanted to give you a magical night, make you proud of us and of our Switzerland. After the many hardships of the long period of the pandemic, we wanted to make you happy with a victory against Italy.
“We had planned so much for it, maybe too much. And, in the end, there was nothing but disappointment. For you, for us and for 4,000 Swiss who travelled to Rome, we are very sorry for that,” he wrote.
“Tomorrow is a new day. Against Turkey we have another chance to qualify for the round of 16 and we have to bring all of our values and virtues back to the pitch, in addition to the correct tactical plan, solidarity, joy and respect. Then we can do it.
“We do not always do what you expect from us. We are people who try to meet these demands, but unfortunately we do not always succeed. And that is why we need the support of all of you before this crucial game. Your solidarity, your positivity. We will do everything we can to ensure that we can all be happy together on Sunday evening,” Petkovic added.
Photo – Switzerland’s head coach Vladimir Petkovic (C) and his team react after loosing the UEFA EURO 2020 group A preliminary round soccer match between Italy and Switzerland in Rome, Italy, 16 June 2021. EPA-EFE/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT