GIOVANNI Trapattoni set the tone for the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 campaign with a confident assessment of his squad two years on from his first competitive game as Irish boss.
“I am happy. We have more players and we are better,” he said. After Paris and the disappointment of a summer of World Cup football without any Irish involvement, Trapattoni is confident that he has enough players to avoid a repeat in the Ukraine and Poland in 2012.
But he warned Irish fans not to expect a repeat of the performance in Paris against Armenia in Yerevan.
“It's not always easy and the first aim for me is the result. We must play for the result. I don't know how well we will play but the result is all-important. We improved in the last four or five games of the qualifying and our performance against Montengro was not like Italy and France,” said Trap.
“We have the possibility to top the group because we have the players. I've been a manager for 30 years and my heart tells me that maybe we can top the group,” he said with a grin.
The test provided by Armenia in Yerevan will tell us whether the performance in Paris was a one-off or the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in the Irish team's evolution.
“If you look at one or two dvds, you can tell immediately it's not easy against this team. This opponent is normally very very aggressive,” said Trapattoni.
“They played like this against Spain and the other famous teams in the last qualifying. They are not very big physically but they are very fast.
“They have good players, technical players. I have seen many of their games and they have secured good results, so we need a good mentality.
“My players can't be sheep. We must show great personality and a willingness. I don't know how well we will play but the result is all-important.”
Asked whether he would take a 1-0 win in this game, he laughed and suggested that he would be happy enough with that kind of result in every game - never mind the performance.
“Of course I'd take a 1-0. If it's good enough for Spain to win the World Cup final, it's good enough for us,” he said.