Outgoing Slovakia coach Jan Kozak said Thursday he had resigned after finding seven players returning late from a party following a 2-1 loss to arch-rivals Czech Republic last weekend.
“It hurt terribly, as if someone spat all over me. Like a slap in the face,” Kozak, a 64-year-old former midfielder, told reporters.
“I’m terribly disappointed,” he added, naming Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar, Perugia defender Norbert Gyomber and Vigo midfielder Stanislav Lobotka among the seven.
He added Dubravka blamed his “difficult patch” at Newcastle and the loss to the Czechs, Lobotka said he “had to time to relax” at Vigo, while former Manchester City midfielder Vladimir Weiss said he did not know why he had joined the party.
“I could pretend I didn’t see them. Or I could sack them all – but could I really?” Kozak said.
“There were four players with great quality, and Slovak football needs them.
“Frankly, I can’t imagine the future of Slovak football without Dubravka, Lobotka, Skriniar, Weiss. So I decided to end my stint with the national team.”
Kozak resigned on Sunday at his own request following the loss to the Czechs in the Nations League which left Slovakia bottom of their group and without a point after two matches.
Kozak took charge of Slovakia in 2013 and led them to an appearance at the finals of Euro 2016.
Led by Kozak’s assistant Stefan Tarkovic, Slovakia drew 1-1 with Sweden in a friendly in Stockholm on Tuesday.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)