Trap's pay to be cut in half
The FAI are edging towards offering Giovanni Trapattoni a new two-year-contract, providing the team reaches the play-offs for the European qualifiers and the Italian accepts significantly reduced terms.
With the situation surrounding businessman Denis O'Brien's continued sponsorship of Trapattoni and his entourage still unclear, the ten-man board of the FAI are considering reducing their collective outlay on the Irish management team from €2.5m per-year to €1.5m.
The implications of such a move are obvious. Not only could Trapattoni expect to see his wages halved but the future of his scouting network, who include Frank Stapleton and Mick Martin, could also come under increasing scrutiny.
Then again, Trapattoni's future is also under scrutiny following Friday's dire performance at the Aviva against Slovakia. Although he retains an overwhelming support from the board (when his situation was discussed at last Monday's monthly board meeting there was a clear preference for his continuation in the role) a week tends to be a particularly long time in Irish football politics.
Feedback from well-placed FAI sources have indicated that a majority of board members favour keeping Trapattoni in office until the end of the 2014 World Cup campaign with one board member saying: "We don't want two more winters like we had in 2005 and 2007."
Then the FAI's prolonged chase for new managers, following Brian Kerr and Steve Staunton's dismissals, proved embarrassing. More significantly, the consensus among board members is that Trapattoni, Friday aside, has done a reasonable job since replacing Staunton in May 2008.
However, should Trapattoni refuse to work for the new package offered -- he can expect to earn €900,000 under the new terms -- then they are prepared to call his bluff and move on.
But if Ireland fail to reach the Euro 2012 play-offs then all bets are off and the succession race will begin in earnest.
Yet despite the result on Friday, Trapattoni has insisted there is no need to panic and ruled out any changes to the system for Ireland's game in Moscow on Tuesday night.
"I'm happy with our attitude and mentality. We'll have the same approach for Russia," he said.
Shay Given, however, has expressed concerns about Russia's "unfair advantage" by playing on a plastic pitch and criticised UEFA for allowing Russia to use it.
"I do think it's an unfair advantage," Given said. "They're the only team in Europe who play on a plastic pitch. It's another fantastic decision by UEFA or FIFA or whoever makes these decisions, but we've got to get on with it. Speaking to Aiden McGeady, I don't think the Russian lads like playing on it that much either. You've got to deal with it."
Trapattoni was not concerned by the plastic pitch, deciding that Ireland wouldn't train on a surface at Lansdowne Road because it risked exacerbating injuries within the squad.
Ireland's chances of dealing with a team that dismantled them in Dublin last year took another blow when Shane Long returned to England yesterday.
Ireland may look like they are short of options but Trapattoni refused to add to the squad, insisting that he had the players in his panel who could pull off one of the most unlikely away victories in Irish football history.
With many suggesting that Trapattoni needs to change his system or his approach, Trapattoni was not for turning.
"We have to continue with this system," he insisted while suggesting that Ireland had created enough chances to win against Slovakia.
He dismissed suggestions from Slovakian players that Ireland were predictable.
"We expected Ireland to play long ball and we prepared for that," Slovakia's Martin Skrtel said afterwards, "but I think to be honest we played better than you today, and that's it."
"Why did they say that?" Trapattoni replied. "They have the same points as us, and they didn't score. I change the game depending on what players I have. A player can change the result and that is not predictable. We have good organisation."
Ireland will need a bit more on Tuesday. So many players under-performed on Friday that Trapattoni will hope it can't be repeated and there are many precedents, even before his time, of Ireland responding well from bad displays.
Trapattoni will have to find a replacement for Sean St Ledger who is suspended after picking up a booking on Friday night. Darren O'Dea is the most likely replacement, although John O'Shea could move from right back to centre-back.
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