Czech Republic coach Jaroslav Silhavy said Monday he was stepping down, only minutes after watching his side clinch automatic qualification for Euro 2024 with a 3-0 win over Moldova.
“Even though we are happy now, we had already decided before the game not to continue,” the 62-year-old coach told Czech Television in a post-match interview.
Silhavy took up the role in 2018, leading his team to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 before failing to qualify for last year’s World Cup in Qatar.
The Czechs have now secured a spot at next year’s Euros in Germany but he has come under fire for the team’s lacklustre performances in Group E where they finished second behind Albania, winning only four out of eight games.
The Czech team was also hurt by last weekend’s scandal as West Ham defender Vladimir Coufal and two other players were sent home after spending Saturday night at a night club.
“The pressure was enormous, beyond comprehension at times. It was one of the factors behind our decision,” said Silhavy.
A former defender, Silhavy’s future was put in doubt after the Czechs crashed to a 3-0 loss in Albania in October.
The Czech Football Association did not fire him but trimmed his contract until November 30, with an option to continue if the Czechs qualify for Euro 2024.
Saturday’s party, however, was another nail in his coffin as Coufal, Aris Thessaloniki defender Jakub Brabec and Sparta Prague striker Jan Kuchta were photographed in a night club two days before the Moldova game.
The players apologised, but football pundits slammed the poor atmosphere in the team, pointing a finger at Silhavy.
The coach himself said the affair was “a big disappointment” as all three had been in the starting line-up for last Friday’s 1-1 draw with Poland in Warsaw.
“I won’t say whether I was successful or not,” Silhavy said on Monday.
“You can see we have done some work, we have been working here for more than five years and there’s nothing we should be ashamed of.”
He said he would travel to Germany as a fan.
“Germany is near (the Czech Republic). We will definitely go and cheer for the boys.”