Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Stoger has defended his criticism of Mario Gotze in the aftermath of Thursday's disappointing Europa League exit to Red Bull Salzburg.
Gotze and team-mate Marco Reus were brought off at half-time in the second leg, which finished goalless and consigned Dortmund to a 2-1 aggregate defeat in the last-16 tie, after an underwhelming opening period.
Following the loss, Stoger laid into Germany's World Cup winner Gotze, saying: "We were not at all happy with Mario.
"And if nothing we set out to do is transported onto the pitch, we must try and give other lads a chance."
Stoger was asked about his singling out of the attacking midfielder in a news conference previewing Dortmund's Bundesliga contest against Hannover on Sunday.
And the 51-year-old stated he was merely calling the situation as he saw it.
"If something hasn't fit at all, I think it must be okay to say that, that's not a problem," he said.
"There have been some other players with whom we didn't agree on their performance.
"It was clear that we had to do something in attack. We had two attacking players on the bench and so we reacted at half-time and changed those two players.
"So, okay, if the interest is so high that these two players had to leave the pitch then you have to give a clear answer and that's what I did.
"It was not that I had any tongue in cheek or something, it was just like I saw it."
Reus' withdrawal was influenced by an adductor problem, which has made him a doubt for the Hannover fixture.
"It's not yet certain he's unavailable, but it could be that he misses out on Sunday," Stoger added.
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