Monday 23 October 2017

Trap feared axe after Euros flop

DION FANNING

Giovanni Trapattoni has said he would have understood if the FAI had decided to sack him after the European Championships.

"I could understand if after the Euros if the FAI had said 'bye, bye'," Trapattoni said last week before the FAI met to decide that he would continue as Ireland manager.

Following their Board of Management meeting, the FAI requested that Trapattoni attend more matches in England. Yesterday he was at Carrow Road watching Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington, who both played excellently in Norwich's surprise 1-0 victory over Arsenal. Trapattoni has often stated that he could show up at matches and find that no Irish player was involved so it must have been a relief to see that the two players were starting yesterday.

Trapattoni met with FAI chief executive John Delaney on Friday and some of the suggestions from the board meeting were put to him.

"John and I met to clarify the thoughts of the board and these were agreed and confirmed by me. It was a useful and professional conversation and I thank him for this. During the meeting we discussed a number of points that were raised by the board to help us continue to improve our work for the association," Trapattoni said in a statement released through the FAI.

Trapattoni had never wavered in his determination to continue in the Ireland job during a trying week but he admitted, before the FAI made their decision on Wednesday night, that he could see why the association might have looked to dismiss him in the summer.

Trapattoni admitted he made mistakes at the European Championships but said that the biggest one was to "over-estimate our possibility". Before then, he insisted, "I make no mistakes."

CHAOTIC WEEK FOR IRISH FOOTBALL PAGES 2-3

Having failed to act in the summer, Ireland went into the World Cup campaign with doubts over the manager, doubts which increased after the unconvincing start to the campaign, particularly the 6-1 defeat to Germany at the Aviva.

Following the 4-1 win against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday, the FAI Board of Management met on their return in Dublin and backed the manager.

Trapattoni said in the Faroe Islands that he could see why they would have acted in the summer.

"Obviously, because we had finished the campaign and they thought about it and what it meant, was it a disaster. But not now when we start a new campaign and we are doing a good job. If the team didn't trust us, you wouldn't have seen the performance in the Faroes, the performance in Kazakhstan and the performance in Serbia."

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