Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois declined to back coach Marc Wilmots, who said he will decide his future at a later time after the Red Devils crashed out of Euro 2016 with a 3-1 quarterfinal defeat to Wales.
Asked after the game if Belgium needed a new coach, Courtois replied: “This was an opportunity we may not get again. I gave him my opinion in the dressing room. He has to make his own decision.”
In his postgame news conference, Wilmots would not say if he would stay on as Belgium coach.
“I said I’d make my decision after the European Championship. I won’t make one straight after the game,” the coach said. “There’s a lot of adrenaline going. We’ll have to see.”
Courtois told VTM that Wilmots used the same tactics as in Belgium’s opening defeat to Italy, and that the same issues from that game came up again on Friday.
“I pointed the finger where it had to be put after the game,” Courtois told Rtbf. “We have to remain intelligent. We’re young and we’re going to still spend a lot of time together. But it’s a disappointment because we had a golden chance to go to the final.”
Wilmots defended his tactics, saying he was preparing to play against a 3-5-2 formation, the same that Italy used. He blamed the players’ communication for a failure to execute.
“I think we had a good game plan — for the first 20 to 25 minutes we were dominating but suddenly we dropped back 15 yards,” he said. “Maybe we were worried about the space in behind.”
Wilmots added that his team were on top at the start of the second half as well.
“I put Marouane Fellaini on and for 15 to 20 minutes we were in control in the second half,” Wilmots said. “We got caught for the second goal which shouldn’t happen. Then it could have gone to 2-2.
“We were listed among one of the favourites. When you go out, you want to go further. But we made too many mistakes to win against a very good Wales side.”
The coach also rued the loss of the injured Jan Vertonghen and the suspended Thomas Vermaelen.
“I’m not a magician and you can’t suddenly replace experience,” he said. “We were unfortunate having two players injured [Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Lombaerts] and then we lost a wise old head [Vertonghen] in training.
“Before this we had conceded no goals in the last three matches. We made mistakes we shouldn’t have made. Maybe it’s fear because they are young, but I am responsible for that.”
Wilmots blamed Courtois’ outspoken opinion on the goalkeeper’s long season with Chelsea, who finished 10th in the Premier League.
“Courtois was frustrated after a poor season with Chelsea. His dream of winning a trophy is gone,” Wilmots said.
Ealier, Courtois had said the loss to Wales outweighed anything he’d experienced in his club career.
“It’s the biggest disappointment of my career and I’ve played in the final of the Champions League,” he said, referring to Atletico Madrid’s extra-time defeat to Real Madrid in 2014.
“We started the game well — we created two or three chances and we got the goal. But afterwards we fell back into our half, we left too much space and we couldn’t hit back.
“Wales had more chances than us and were more dangerous. They controlled the match and we felt like we couldn’t create any chances.”