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'We need one more in midfield', admits Trapattoni

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI last night suggested that he could sacrifice a striker for Sunday's Euro 2012 opener with Croatia after his Irish side were fortunate to draw with Hungary in Budapest.

The Ireland manager went into battle with his strongest team, but they were under pressure for long periods of the first half and outnumbered in midfield.

He thanked Shay Given for keeping the visitors in the game, and was happy that the 'keeper and John O'Shea proved their fitness, although the former was taken off at half-time as a precaution.

But the 73-year-old was worried by the manner in which a Hungarian side operating in a 4-2-3-1 formation dominated the engine-room. "We need one more in midfield," he said. "To have a balance, we must renounce one striker, or put one more in midfield."

Trapattoni said beforehand that last night's XI will start in Poznan, but hinted at a rethink in a press conference where he appeared to contradict himself, initially saying he could change personnel, and later talking about making alterations within his first-choice side.

FAI sources claimed that the Irish boss had always planned to review the situation after this game.

Jon Walters, who impressed after replacing Kevin Doyle at the break, often functions as a fifth midfielder for Stoke, but Robbie Keane could operate in a much deeper role.

Croatia boss Slaven Bilic was at the game and said that Ireland produced a performance that was similar to what he had previously seen from Sunday's opponents.

Irish Independent