Thursday 21 September 2017

'I don't know what Roy Keane does to be honest. He gives good press conferences' - Eamon Dunphy

Ireland Martin O'Neill with assistant manager Roy Keane during squad training
Ireland Martin O'Neill with assistant manager Roy Keane during squad training

Eamon Dunphy has launched a stinging attack on the Ireland management team ahead of tonight's crucial World Cup qualifier at home to Serbia.

Martin O'Neill's men face a tough battle to secure one of the top two spots in Group D and have been widely criticised for their performance in Saturday's 1-1 draw away to Georgia.

Ireland looked bereft of ideas and sat very deep after talking a third-minute lead through Shane Duffy in Tbilisi.

Speaking on RTE Radio's Game On last night, Dunphy said: "The team has no shape. (O'Neill and Keane) have been in charge now for three years. It doesn't have any recognisable identity, except that you know the players will fight.

"They (the players) want to play for Ireland. They'll fight until the bitter end and they've got some really good results. But when you take a closer look, for example Saturday's game. Shocking.

"It was badly organised. Shane Long was isolated. They dropped way too deep. Wes Hoolahan was sitting on the bench. James McClean was heroic but where was he playing?

Nobody was in a designated position. Harry Arter who plays for Bournemouth, who are a passing team with a top coach, Eddie Howe, he must have had a headache trying to come to terms with this shambles. It was a shambles. There's no other word for it."

Dunphy has been a long-time supporter of Wes Hoolahan and he suggested the management team "don't respect" the Norwich play-maker who was an unused sub in Georgia.

"These guys have their mind made up about Wes. They don't respect him," fumed Dunphy.

"He's a terrific player. They don't want him because... I don't know they're mystery men.

"I would not blame the players. There isn't a single player I'd blame. They all did their best."

Dunphy went on to aim a barb at old foe and former friend Keane.

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"I don't know what Keane is doing and I don't know what they're looking at, what they're doing, what they're seeing on the training ground," he added.

"My suspicion is that they're not doing very much because you just couldn't get it that wrong.

"You just couldn't. We go one-nil up and we immediately drop deep in our own half and allow a team short of four of their best players to own the ball for the rest of the game. That's what they did. I don't understand it.

"I don't know what Keane does to be honest. He gives good press conferences.

"Keane is a pretty intimidating character to have around players, young players in particular."

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