MILAN Inter Milan's players will be confined to their training ground for the rest of the week after what the club described as an unacceptable Serie A defeat at Fiorentina on Saturday.
The club also backed coach Stefano Pioli who, according to Italian media, offered his resignation after a second-half collapse when Inter conceded four goals in 17 minutes on their way to a 5-4 defeat.
"Following Saturday's result... the club has called the entire first team squad in for an extended 'ritiro'," Inter said in a statement, adding that the measure would remain in force until Sunday's match at home to Napoli.
"The manner of the defeat at Fiorentina was unacceptable for our supporters both in Italy and abroad, and we are determined to put this right.
"Everyone at the club, from the players to all staff, are now focussed on working as hard as possible to achieve the maximum result and finish the season strongly."
The 'ritiro' is a standard response to poor performances at Italian clubs, although critics say it is outdated and makes highly paid professional players look like misbehaving school children.
The players sleep at accommodation in the training ground or at a hotel, depending on the club's facilities.
Pioli became Inter's ninth coach in the last six years when he was hired in November, replacing Frank de Boer who was sacked after only 85 days.
He initially sparked a revival but two points in the last five games has called his stewardship into question.
"The club confirms its full backing and that of the ownership in Stefano Pioli and his entire technical team," said the statement.
"Pioli joined Inter at a difficult time and the work he has carried out together with his staff over the six months... has been exceptional and deserves our full respect.
"The club will not be distracted by rumours circulated by those outside of the club."
Eighteen-times Italian champions Inter have not won a major trophy since lifting the Coppa Italia in 2011 and have failed to qualify for the Champions League for the last five seasons.
They are currently seventh in Serie A, outside the Europa League qualifying slots.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)