Croatia manager Ante Cacic has lashed out at Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren for his recent behaviour while on international duty, warning his Euro 2016 hopes will be over unless it improves.
Lovren was on the substitutes' bench for Croatia's midweek international friendly with Hungary on Tuesday 29 March, a match that ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to Balazs Dzsudzsak's second-half equaliser.
The former Southampton defender was asked to begin warming up on the sidelines by his manager with the rest of the subs but opted to return to the bench earlier than the rest of his teammates, a decision that infuriated his manager.
"He did not refuse to get on the pitch... because no one invited him to come on," Cacic told Sportske Novosti, ESPN report. "But do you think it is up to Lovren or any other player to decide how long will he warm up? Or is it [the] coach's decision?"
Lovren's form under Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has improved this season but it may not be enough to guarantee the centre half a place in Croatia's Euro 2016 squad.
"I didn't specifically tell him to warm up. I told all the benched players because it was cold in Budapest. So all of them went to warm up." Cacic said. "I will not tolerate such behaviour because no one is more important than the team. Lovren made [a] step backward, away from our squad.
"We didn't talk after the match, we will see what is going to happen, but I will not tolerate such acts and he made [a] wrong move."
Lovren has become a first-team regular at Anfield in 2016 during the absence of Martin Skrtel, becoming one half of Klopp's first choice partnership at centre half alongside Mamadou Sakho.