Dortmund captain defends coach: 'Players must give something back'
Borussia Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer has disissed criticism on coach Peter Bosz over his attacking game plan, saying that it is up to the players to deliver.
Dortmund dominated the Bundesliga early in the season but have garnered just one point in the last four games as their five-point league lead has turned into a six-point deficit on Bayern Munich.
"It is not about the system but rather about how we present ourselves," Schmelzer told Monday's edition of Kicker sports magazine.
"The fact that he sometimes protects us shouldn't mislead us to hide behind him. We have an obligation to give the coach something back."
Defeats against Leipzig, Hanover and Bayern - and an all but assured Champions League exit - raised questions about the tactics of Bosz who came in summer from Dutch side Ajax. Bosz has also rejected the criticism, saying that the whole team must defend in a better way.
Schmelzer said the players must now step up and hopes that the current international break will help the team turn the tide, with Dortmund next visiting VfB Stuttgart before hosting arch rivals Schalke.
"Indeed, it [the break] came at the right time. Many players were quite exhausted physically and mentally. It is good for them to get a breather," Schmelzer said.