Trap to stick to his guns
Published 26/03/2013 | 08:41
Giovanni Trapattoni has insisted victory is all that matters for Ireland in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Austria.
They head into the game brimming with confidence after Friday's 0-0 draw in Sweden, which kept alive their hopes of claiming second spot in Group C. However, that point will only prove worthwhile if they add three more to it this evening, and while that may require a different approach, Trapattoni will not throw caution to the wind.
He said: "I saw 20 games before I came to Ireland - I don't remember this 'show'. To remember the show, I must go back to Roy Keane and that great team. I played against this strong Ireland team. But for 24 years, we had been missing tournaments. I saw many games on DVD and I can't remember seeing this."
The Italian continued: "Our team has produced this and we can win. Against France and against the teams in the first qualifying campaign, against Georgia, Montenegro and also Bulgaria, we played great football. Don't forget, we have played well in the past."
Trapattoni has never made any apologies for his concentration on substance rather than style, although he went into the game in Stockholm knowing defeat could have signalled the end of his tenure.
His pragmatism will come to the fore once again when he employs striker Connor Sammon alongside Shane Long in the absence of injured skipper Robbie Keane, because he believes the Derby frontman will be better suited to the task of both extending the Austrian defence and closing them down in possession than the more creative Wes Hoolahan.
Provided that left-back Marc Wilson shakes off a groin injury, the Italian's starting XI will see only one further change with Glenn Whelan returning in place of Paul Green.
That will mean only two of the men who started the final Euro 2012 game against Italy in Poznan will remain, largely as a result of retirements and injuries. Whelan is one, and the other is Sunderland defender John O'Shea, whose experience among so many youngsters could prove vital.
Trapattoni said: "He has personality whether he plays right-back or centre-half. He plays always in first team of a Premier League club and has played many games.
"He can also play right-back, but at this moment he will stay at centre-half, where his experience as defender now is important as we are missing Richard Dunne."