Sport Soccer

Monday 21 October 2019

Boss hits back at Delaney over 'four-win' demand

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has hit back at John Delaney over the FAI chief executive's suggestion that Ireland need four wins from five games to finish second in their World Cup qualifying group.

Delaney increased the pressure on Trapattoni earlier this month by indicating that Ireland required that return from their remaining matches to grab a play-off place in an attempt to reach next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

However, Trapattoni does not agree with that assessment, believing that Delaney is overlooking the fact that the other teams in the shake-up, Austria and Sweden, still have to meet twice.

"John maybe forgot that the other teams play together," said Trapattoni yesterday as he named his squad for the forthcoming summer internationals, which include one qualifier with the Faroe Islands and friendlies with England, Georgia and Spain.

"Four wins is completely 100pc second, but there are other games. And we have games against Austria and Sweden also. I put no limit on performances and possibilities."

As it stands, it is a three-way tie for second on eight points, with the Swedes having a game in hand. They meet Austria in Vienna on June 7 – the same night the Faroes visit Dublin – before hosting the Faroes four days later.

Trapattoni kicked off his press conference by delivering a warm tribute to Alex Ferguson but stressed he had no intention of retiring himself.

"I thank God because I have my head and my enthusiasm," said the 74-year-old. "Football is football, it changes every second... I have a room full of trophies but that's not important – the new trophy is important as there is a possibility. The future is important."

Reports in Italy over the weekend suggested his next step could be to Napoli if coach Walter Mazzarri steps down.

"I don't allow distractions... At this moment, sure, no, Napoli. It's speculation. There is no approach. I have my friends in Napoli and they are doing a beautiful job," he said.

Irish Independent

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