Sport Soccer

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Delaney demands change

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

FAI chief executive John Delaney has described his clear-the-air talks with national team manager Giovanni Trapattoni as "a very honest meeting".

He told the Irish Independent that Trapattoni was offered the choice of a meeting either yesterday or next week, but jumped at the chance to start a new phase in his job by jetting in for a 2.0 appointment at FAI headquarters.

The meeting arose from Wednesday night's conversation when Delaney phoned Trapattoni at his Milan home to tell him the board of directors wanted him to stay on in the job. Speaking with the assistance of fluent Italian speaker Peter Sherrard, the FAI's communications manager, Delaney outlined the new approach required.

He requested that Trapattoni come to Dublin as soon as possible to go over the issues and the Italian duly complied.

"I said to him (on Wednesday) I would value if you would come over and see me and we go through this again. I offered him either today (Friday) or early next week, but Giovanni said he wanted to come immediately.

"We chatted for around one and a half hours. This was a very professional, very honest meeting. Today was about getting clarity on these details again.

"I would prefer to keep some of them private, but one issue certainly was his going to games. It was something that needed to be re-visited at this stage, given the level of criticism, but it's also the right thing to do now, particularly as he's changing the squad and bringing in younger players.

"It's important as he's changing the squad that Giovanni goes to see those players on a more continuous basis, and he accepted that point."

Trapattoni has wasted no time in getting busy, as he travels to watch Norwich City today in the hope that Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington will play against Arsenal. The manager has underlined his resolve to get the Irish team to the 2014 World Cup finals.

"John and I met today to clarify the thoughts of the board and these were agreed and confirmed by me," he said. "It was a useful and professional conversation and I thank him for this."

Delaney stressed that he and the manager have an excellent working relationship and he was in regular contact with Trapattoni during the build-up to the Germany and Faroe Islands games.

"From a relationship point of view, Giovanni is very easy to work with," Delaney said, "but if there are matters to be discussed, we'll discuss them."

Irish Independent

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