Wednesday 23 October 2019

Georgian boss' Michael Flatley comparison strictly taken as compliment by Mick McCarthy ahead of Tbilisi battle

11 October 2019; Manager Vladimír Weiss speaking during a Georgia press conference at the Boris Paichadze Erovnuli Stadium in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
11 October 2019; Manager Vladimír Weiss speaking during a Georgia press conference at the Boris Paichadze Erovnuli Stadium in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

John Brennan

It's not often that Michael Flatley is quoted at football press conferences. But a clearly relaxed Georgian manager Vladimir Weiss had no problem referring to the hoofer as he chewed the fat 24 hours before his team faces Ireland in a vital Euro 2020 qualifier for the Boys in Green.

Weiss, a Slovakian, said Ireland play "with phenomenal energy, just like Michael Flatley dances. There are good dancers in Georgia too, but he is very special. It is easy for me to tell my players what Ireland are going to do tomorrow, it is not easy for them to stop Ireland."

A bemused Mick McCarthy laughed off the comparison when he later faced the press, responding: "I don't know how to answer that, I'm not usually stuck for words."

When told of the context, the Irish manager added: "I thought he meant we had good feet when we got the ball. I think when someone describes you as someone who is as brilliant as Michael Flatley, such a wonderful performer and dancer, and a good guy, actually, I will take that as a huge compliment of my team."

"If anybody is as good at his sport, his discipline, his whatever, he is excellent at it. So I will take that as a huge compliment."  

Weiss is in a happy mood because he is a football manager under no pressure even though the Georgians are only fourth in Group D.

That is because they are guaranteed a Euro 2020 play-off next March as a result of their efforts in last year's National League, and their opponents will be teams from their own level, such as Albania, Belarus or North Macedonia.

"But we cannot treat tomorrow as a friendly because of that," Weiss insisted, "we must go in with the intention of getting our first win against Ireland, but it will not be easy because they are the top of the group, but we need to develop the mentality of beating the top teams."

Pressed by the local media as to whether he would stay on as manager, Weiss said that is not important. 

However, the Georgian manager expects to use the same players who drew against Denmark last month, the result that opens all sorts of doors for Ireland, if the Boys in Green can win tomorrow.

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