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Rumours hit rocks as Trap rides out the storm

WHEN Giovanni Trapattoni cancelled his après-match analyses session with the media in Dublin yesterday, it was no surprise that speculation mushroomed instantly.

Now we know that he wanted to return to Italy to visit his ailing sister but on Tuesday, after the game and after the normal press conference, Trapattoni agreed to do a second interview which was for Thursday's newspapers -- hardly the best arrangement for journalists but that was all that was available.

Now that the FAI have decided that he's still the man for the Ireland job, his comments are to some degree redundant but still interesting enough to print.

He began with a smile and finished with a grin. It was the virtuoso performance of a master football politician.

We kicked off with a general question about his job, the FAI and recent speculation. What's going on Giovanni? What's your gut feeling?

"I have no idea. I haven't the faintest because I think about what we did until now. After the Euros we lost against Germany. We prepared the new players and we won against Kazakhstan, we won in the Faroes. Serbia was okay, no problem. Oman was easy.


"I was in four countries at important clubs. I know every president and every chief executive. I know. I met only one very important president because he know football very well. Was the best striker many years ago.

"He wouldn't judge depending on win or lose. He would take a decision and stick to his decision. The president is the president. He has responsibility. He decides what happens or doesn't happen.

"Sometime he thinks it's better to change the manager because there is a problem with the team. It's better to change the manager rather than 10 players.

"In my life it's not this case. I decide to go and change clubs so I'm not particularly anxious and I'm not worried. Absolutely not.

"I continue to do my job with the same attitude and the same attention. The players are growing. Not because tomorrow I go.

"Also I sign the new contract in February or March. Okay I finish. We won and while that is my job, I will keep doing my job. I think it's honourable that I have this quality.

"The players say: this man is a great manager, you have good quality. I had (Michel) Platini, Marco (Tardelli), (Zbigniew) Boniek. We won. They say, above all, Trapattoni is a man.

Asked whether he should seek a meeting with the FAI, he said: "No. Many players have said to me 'Why do I not play?' I always clarify. It is not my job to ask what happened because of rumours. In Italy there are many rumours. (Marcello ) Lippi was in China - now there are rumours.

"Your job is rumours. But I am responsible. I speak to the players. I say, 'You don't play because (Séamus) Coleman is more offensive than you'; I clarify this. That's my duty, job, my responsibility. It's not my duty to ask what's happening."

Trapattoni was then asked to comment on the rumours that he would be sacked, win lose or draw in Torshavn and that FAI CEO John Delaney refused to make any comment.

"Maybe he thinks I go. But I said in yesterday's conference: no, I will not go, because we're starting a new job. We started a new campaign and we lost against Germany, not against Kazakhstan or the Faroes. Sweden found it difficult to play here.

"They could have let us go after the Euros. That would have been better, I don't know," he said shrugging his shoulders. "It's the same as when I say to a player: 'You're not playing because I'm playing the other'. If the FAI say you're being put aside, then I can only accept it - with an explanation."


"I'm not the boss, I am the manager. I have my job. Yesterday I spoke with only Stephen Kelly. Vvvoommmm," he said with his arms splayed wide indicating how fast rumours travel.

"This is life, this is the way it goes. Is it the masseur? The kit-man? Peter (Sherrard)," he said laughing. "I'm not angry because it's my job until the president says: 'Ok, Giovanni, thank you.'

"But these are rumours. And the rumours in Italy are bad, worse because the newspapers compete against each other. The confusion is worse. I'm used to this.

"If it was the players against me or against us, then I would be upset, if my behaviour with them was not professional."

Asked whether he still believed he had the support of his dressing room, he was very confident about his answer.

"It's not only diplomacy when you ask the players: 'What do you think about Trapattoni?' It's not that they answer out of diplomacy. When you are a manager, you have this sensibility, a feeling of whether the answer is no or yes."