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Tuesday 17 September 2019

'I don’t want a protest no - unless it has the same impact as the last time, then they can bring what they want' - Mick McCarthy

4 September 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy during a press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
4 September 2019; Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy during a press conference at the FAI National Training Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Mick McCarthy has laughed off suggestions of fan protests ahead of tomorrow's Euro 2020 qualifier at home to Switzerland, once the home side can get the win they need to put them nine points ahead of the Swiss.

Ireland's qualifier against Georgia last Match was interrupted in the 33rd minute when fans threw tennis balls onto the pitch as a reaction to the damaging revelations about the FAI which have led to the ongoing attempts at reform within the association.

While the game was briefly stopped, it clearly didn't negatively impact the players, with Conor Hourihane's free-kick immediately on resumption hitting the net to secure a valuable 1-0 victory.

“Of course. I’m certainly not going to urge them to protest against the game or anything involved in the game. Unless it has the same impact as the last time – then they can bring what they want. I'm not bothered if we win," McCarthy joked during his pre-match press conference.

“I don’t want a protest no, I’d like to have a great evening and a game that’s enjoyed by everybody, and a result that’s enjoyed by everybody.”

McCarthy also stated he's not concerned about the lack of goals from his Ireland strike force. With Shane Long omitted from the squad, none of the four strikers in McCarthy's panel have scored at senior level but McCarthy is more enthused by the form at club level of Callum Robinson and David McGoldrick with Premier League side Sheffield United than he is worried.

"I am not bothered where they come from, I think the strikers might argue with that, they want to score the goals, but if we win tomorrow no one will be bothered who scores," McCarthy added.

"The fact that Callum and David have played and played well for their club this season is good for us, if they are picked to play," added the Irish boss.

The last game of his first spell as Ireland boss was a qualifier at home to the Swiss and he senses a rise in the mood ahead of this game.

"I have noticed it with the fans and around the hotel, how excited people are, there is definitely more interest in it, collectively you don't go around talking about it, we know the opportunity we have got, as they [Switzerland] do too," McCarthy said.

"The home crowd is essential, any team in league or international football home results are usually better, and it's up to us to get that atmosphere going with our performance."

Ireland did beat the Swiss in their most recent meeting, a 2016 friendly, but Switzerland are unbeaten in the last five competitive games and McCarthy sees Arsenal man Granit Xhaka as a real threat.

"Everything seems to stem through Xhaka, whoever we have in midfield has to be ready for it," he said.

"We have watched them over three games, they like to be the dominant team in possession and we'll do our best to stop that.

"We will have to be good with the ball as they are well-organised and solid, they play five at the back, they get into their shape quickly so breaking them down is not easy, and they are good with the ball, we have both sides of our game, good with the ball but also able to defend.

"My scout, Noel King, watched their games live, we watched them against Denmark and against England in the Nations League, we have done our analysis

"They are a good side, they have been for 10-15 year, 20 years, qualifying for competitions, we have done our work, I am sure they have done their work on us. We have good analysts and we are very adept at doing that.

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