Soccer

Thursday 21 August 2014

Trapattoni focused on positives as Greece piles on misery

Daniel McDonnell

Published 15/11/2012 | 05:00

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Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

GIOVANNI Trapattoni focused on the positives as Ireland's miserable year finished with a fifth defeat in eight games.

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A first-half strike from Greece striker Jose Holebas ensured a narrow victory for the visitors in the Aviva Stadium friendly, but the Ireland manager believes there were encouraging signs for the future.

He praised the "fantastic" Seamus Coleman and Ciaran Clark for their contributions to a game that featured a bright start to both halves from the hosts, before they lost their way.

Second-half substitute Wes Hoolahan was also promised that he will be involved in the new year.

However, events in Stockholm illustrated the challenge that Ireland will face on their next competitive outing in March.

HEROICS

When informed of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's four-goal heroics against England, Trapattoni joked that, hopefully, the Paris St Germain striker had used up all his energy.

"And we know him very well from Italy," he added.

The 73-year-old's main disappointment was the performance of the referee, who waved away solid Irish penalty appeals in either half.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that his team should have done better with their possession and the 14 corners they earned in the course of a low-key encounter.

"The result gives us great disappointment," said Trapattoni. "But the performance gives us the possibility to confirm what I look for from the young players. In the first 20 minutes, we played great football.

"The positive situation was the performance of three, four players. Coleman deserved Man of the Match, and Clark was also fantastic. Hoolahan showed he can give us an option. We can use these players in the future."

Irish Independent

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