Friday 23 February 2018

O'Shea: Concentration and discipline cost us, not Trap's game plan

John O'Shea
John O'Shea
David Kelly

David Kelly

John O'Shea, another of the Irish veterans who has failed to fulfil his own high standards in this tournament, has defended the line-up deployed by manager Giovanni Trapattoni in Thursday night's tournament-ending defeat to Spain.

"Beforehand, I'm sure the manager weighed up lots of ideas and he went with what he thought was best," said the Sunderland defender.

"We conceded the early goal but we went in at half-time only 1-0 down. You think -- right, let's keep it nice and tight early on.

"But next thing we lose that second goal and it's a massive uphill task against one of the best teams in the world.

"You saw the last goal they scored as well -- we never normally concede a goal like that from a corner played in so simply.

"He (Cesc Fabregas) has put the goal away well but for us to be conceding goals like that -- I know the game was over but we should be able to keep our discipline. Concentration lapses have cost us."

Stoke pair Glenn Whelan and Jonathan Walters were a little less enthused with how the manager deployed his limited resources.

"Obviously it's hard when you're playing two in there and they've got three, four and five but it's got us here and it's the way the manager wants us to play," said Whelan of the midfield area.

"So all you can do is your best and I think we've given it our all against the top players in the world and I think we can still hold our heads up high.

"The manager wants us to play with two up top and whatever the manager wants us to do we have to do because he picks the team.

"But look, I think against Spain you have to be tight and compact and unfortunately we weren't like that in the second half, but that's just down to tired legs as well."

Walters demurred when asked what the instructions were at half-time following his introduction for the fruitless endeavours of surprise starting choice Simon Cox.

"You have to ask the manager really," said Walters. "I don't know whether it was fresh legs or not. I came on, came into the hole and tried to pick up the midfield players similar to what I do at Stoke.

"But when you have got three midfield players all picking your pockets it is going to be difficult. Against a team like Spain you are going to be sitting deep and they seem to find pockets of space everywhere.

"When you do get the ball, you get two or three quality players around you every time.

"It's not just that they are footballers -- they work ever so hard for each other. They are top players and the top teams always seem to do that."

Irish Independent

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