BERLIN (AFP) – Julian Nagelsmann wants more from his RB Leipzig side ahead of a crucial run of fixtures for the Bundesliga leaders, after their recent defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt left him asking whether his players genuinely wanted to win the German title.
Leipzig have seen their lead over second-placed Bayern Munich cut to one point after a meek performance in the 2-0 loss to mid-table Eintracht.
With league games against title rivals Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayern over the next fortnight, as well as the club’s first foray in the Champions League knockout stages against Tottenham Hotspur, Nagelsmann said the club need to decide whether or not they deserve their spot at the top of German football.
“We need to decide whether or not we push towards the title, or whether we stay here, have something to eat and drink, and fall back into the pack,” Nagelsmann said.
Nagelsmann criticised his squad’s listless effort in what was just Leizpig’s third league loss of the season, saying their lack of energy and urgency was evident during the week’s training sessions.
“We do not have the quality of Bayern or Dortmund. That means we have to use every minute of training better than them,” Nagelsmann said.
“I don’t always see that. When you see our 11 against 11 (in training) on Wednesday, you can see that we are a long way from being a top team.
“Everyone makes the decision for themselves whether they want to be a winner and rip in. You don’t have to tell me the decision, I feel it, I see it on the pitch.”
It’s been an unusually vocal week for the calm 32-year-old, who is in his first year with the eastern German club after a summer switch from Hoffenheim, where he became the youngest permanent head coach in Bundesliga history at 28.
Nagelsmann used a press conference to slam the mentality of the younger generation of players, including wantaway midfielder Hannes Wolf.
The 20-year-old Austrian told Nagelsmann he was growing frustrated with a lack of game time and wanted to be sent out on loan.
“It’s currently a trend that every player who is not a regular wants to leave immediately,” Nagelsmann said.