BELGRADE (REUTERS) - Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic has blamed his team's 3-1 home defeat by Denmark in their Euro 2016 Group I qualifier on a lack of commitment among the players and their habit of underestimating the opposition.
"We see ourselves as big stars and always think we are better than others and that's a very bad attitude," the Chelsea defender told reporters after Serbia were blown away by the Danes in an empty stadium on Friday.
"The players are obviously unaware what it means to put on a Serbia shirt and play for the national team. This has been going on for years and we can't carry on like that."
The match was played behind closed doors after the Serbians started serving a two-game crowd ban for fan violence in their previous home game against Albania, abandoned after a drone stunt triggered a player brawl and a pitch invasion by Serbian fans.
Winger Zoran Tosic gave Serbia an early lead but the home side fell apart in the second half, when a Nicklas Bendtner double and a Simon Kjaer header turned the match on its head.
Ivanovic's Chelsea team-mate Nemanja Matic, a rare beacon of light on a gloomy evening for Serbia, believes the Balkan nation must adopt a long-term strategy if they are to improve.
"We are simply not good enough," he said. "We have to be realistic and adopt a 10-year plan like most top teams do. Belgium are a good example as they went through a long barren spell and are now one of the most feared teams in Europe."
The result piled the pressure on Serbia and their Dutch coach Dick Advocaat, who said he was considering quitting, after a tepid 1-1 opening draw at Armenia was followed by the ill-fated match against Albania.
The Serbs were awarded a 3-0 walkover win over the Albanians but also docked three points and having appealed against the latter part of the verdict, they now have one point from two games ahead of difficult visits to Portugal and Denmark in March and June respectively.
"We will keep going until the bitter end but honestly, our chances to qualify are minimal and it's going to be a mountain to climb," Matic said.