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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Trap sticks to his guns as pressure mounts over rigid tactics

Ireland captain Robbie Keane in pensive mood as he listens to Giovanni Trapattoni answering a question at a press conference in Zilina. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile
Ireland captain Robbie Keane in pensive mood as he listens to Giovanni Trapattoni answering a question at a press conference in Zilina. Photo: David Maher / Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell in Zilina

THREE games into Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, it's all about trust.

The manager trusts his system, but does the manager trust his players? The players trust their ability, but do they still trust their manager? And who can be trusted to deliver the goods in the vital clash with Group B leaders Slovakia tonight.

Amid rumblings of player discontent over Trapattoni's preferred system in the wake of last Friday's 3-2 defeat by Russia, the game in Zilina is one that Ireland simply cannot afford to lose.

The manager has stated that he will stick with the rigid 4-4-2 formation that had served him reasonably well until it was so brutally exposed by Dick Advocaat's Russians.

With the players beginning to ask questions, it is a crucially important night for Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifying prospects. Defeat would leave captain Robbie Keane and his team-mates facing an uphill battle.

However, the Italian is firm in his conviction that his methods can deliver the right outcome, and denied he prevents his team from expressing themselves. "I do not forbid creativity," he stressed.

Keane said that the Irish players were in no doubt about their responsibilites and understand what the manager wants from them against a Slovakian side who are smarting from a defeat in Armenia last Friday.

"We know exactly what we should be doing," said Keane, "The manager's been in the game a lot longer than all of us. We're fully aware of the tactics and the situation going into every game."

Trapattoni has decided to make just one enforced change from the side that fell to the Russians, with Shane Long standing in for Kevin Doyle.

Liam Lawrence will play if he passes a fitness test this morning.

Irish Independent

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