Sunday 25 February 2018

Trapattoni rejects criticism of failure to field Hoolahan

Wes Hoolahan training ahead of the qualifier match against Sweden. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.
Wes Hoolahan training ahead of the qualifier match against Sweden. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile.
Paul Hyland

Paul Hyland

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has rejected criticism of his team and tactics and claims that he left Wes Hoolahan on the bench for good football reasons.


“I don’t know which people,” he said when asked whether he was hurt by those who believe he no longer has what it takes to manage at international level.

“It doesn’t hurt me. It’s our job. Also today, in the hotel, every Irish person say to me, ‘It’s a pity about the result but you are doing a good job’.”

Secure again in his position until Ireland’s World Cup qualification effort succeeds or fails, Trapattoni claims that he considered Hoolahan and will do so again for the next World Cup outing against the Faroe Islands in June, a game which James McCarthy misses through suspension.

“All situations are possible. I have to speak to Wes first,” he said after defending his decision to leave him on the bench against Austria.

When it was put to him that Kevin Doyle might have been a better substitution for Shane Long than Paul Green, his response was swift and trenchant.



“The question is not Doyle. We needed to support our midfield. Better to say ‘why no Hoolahan?’. We would not have had the ball in midfield to give it to another striker.

“It was impossible to go (forward). I thought about Hoolahan but he would still have had to help in midfield,” he insisted.

Trapattoni believes that the players were too keen to keep the ball moving in the final few moments and that a bit more experience would have wasted precious seconds.

“It is a foul. So wait a second. We played immediately, quickly. Wait. Lose some time; 30 seconds in this situation. I’m not talking about individual experience. I’m talking about group experience.”

Clearly anxious to push on, Trapattoni believes that one of his main duties is to pursue new players and he will use upcoming friendlies against Georgia and whichever teams the FAI line up in America to help the process.

“My duty is to make what is possible to do with this team, discover other players. Reinforce the team. Strengthen the team. Grow the team.

“With Georgia and America we can try the new situation. People like (Anthony) Pilkington and we have not forgotten Doyle.

“I think we have enough quality to aspire to qualify. The young players have had their baptism now and we can improve again, technically and the individual performances. I give them confidence and trust. I told them, ‘I believe in you’.”

Online Editors

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