Tuesday 20 March 2018

Under-fire Moldova manager calls on home fans to 'appreciate' his players ahead of Ireland clash

Igor Dobrovolski
Igor Dobrovolski
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

IGOR Dobrovolski, the under-pressure manager of Moldova, admits that he could be out of a job if his side lose to the Republic of Ireland in Chisinau tomorrow night.

Bottom seeds in the group, Moldova have had a dreadful start to their World Cup campaign as Thursday's 3-0 loss at home to Serbia followed a 4-0 hammering in Wales on the opening night of the group.

Fans booed Dobrovolski and the players at the end of Thursday's home defeat and called on the former Russian international to quit, with locals predicting that he will either walk away or be sacked in the event of a defeat.

While he admits that criticism is expected, he's pleaded for patience, with a crowd of around 8,000 expected in the 10,000 capacity stadium in Chisinau.

"I can resign but I want to say that our team deserves some appreciation as they do their best, there are many negative people, even when our team won matches they were unhappy, so how can we deal with such an attitude?," said Dobrovolski ahead of Ireland's first-ever clash with Moldova.

"But the fans have the right to express their criticisms. There are some changes in our team, and despite the previous losses, I see a good reaction from our players.

"Yes, fans can be unhappy but from the inside, I can say that I am pleased with what the players have done, despite the scores, 3-0 and 4-0, it's not easy to forgive but the team continues to do its best.

"But I hope that in the end there will be a better result tomorrow. People, amateurs and those who love football, they have the right to express their views, but it's important not to put pressure on the players," he added.

Captain Alexandru Epureanu, who set a new national record for appearances by winning his 75th cap against Serbia, is expected to play despite suffering from an injury and also a serious lack of confidence after his errors gifted Serbia two goals last week, the

Turkish-based defender issuing a public apology to fans after the Serbia defeat.

Ireland will train in the Zimbru Stadium this evening but the weather in Chisinau, with heavy rainfall for the last two days, has left the pitch in a boggy state.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport