In his first comments since ousting World Cup winners Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller from the German national team, Joachim Löw hit back at critics who questioned the way he delivered them the news.
His decision to no longer include the Bayern Munich trio in his squad drew a backlash last week. Many, including Bayern and Germany defender Joshua Kimmich, openly questioned the course of action.
On Wednesday, Sport Bild also reported that Löw, who flew to Munich 10 days ago to inform the three players in person of his decision, only spent a handful of minutes with each player.
"I find it strange when people make judgments about respect and values even though they did not take part in the discussions. Time is also no indicator for the quality of a conversation," Löw said at a press conference in Frankfurt.
Not walking on eggshells
Löw also said he didn't understand the argument that he declared the international careers of Boateng, Hummels and Müller, who have spent a decade with the national team together, effectively over.
"I would have been walking on eggshells if I said to players with 80, 90 or 100 caps, 'We'll see how the young players develop.' I want to be more straightforward with such players."
The Germany coach also said meeting Müller, Boateng and Hummels in person was of "most importance."
"It was extremely difficult for me emotionally because we have so much to thank those players for," Löw said, adding they were "utterly disappointed" by his decision to drop them.
All three players voiced their displeasure with Löw's decision last week. Müller posted a two-minute video where he said he "cannot understand the decision," while the others shared their dismay with long messages on Twitter.
Müller has made 100 appearances for Germany in his career, the 11th player in history to eclipse the century mark. Boateng has 76 career appearances, while Mats Hummels has made 70.
dv/am (dpa, SID)