Sunday 18 August 2019

'You can change the manager, but cannot change the players' - Danes in another dig at Ireland


Shane Duffy heading the Republic of Ireland in front against Denmark in the Euro play offs
Shane Duffy heading the Republic of Ireland in front against Denmark in the Euro play offs
13 October 2018; Shane Duffy of Republic of Ireland goes down under the challenge of Henrik Dalsgaard of Denmark during the UEFA Nations League B group four match between Republic of Ireland and Denmark at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Jorgensen: “You can change the manager, but cannot change the players.” Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

John Fallon and Daniel McDonnell

Mathias Jorgensen claims Denmark don't expect Mick McCarthy's Ireland to deviate from the negative tactics of his predecessor in tomorrow night's Euro 2020 qualifier (7.45).

The Huddersfield Town defender has become the latest Dane, after Christian Eriksen and Thomas Delaney, to hit out at the ultra-defensive approach adopted by Martin O'Neill in three scoreless draws over their last four meetings.

For all the expansive play in the win over Georgia in March, Jorgensen isn't convinced that McCarthy has the tools to seek a win in tomorrow's Euro 2020 qualifier in Copenhagen.

"You can change the manager, but cannot change the players," the 29-year-old claimed.

"It doesn't make the style any different. We all know which way Ireland will play. They will come to our stadium, sit back and be happy to play for a draw.

"Their game-plan of trying to keep us scoreless is one we've come to respect. They've managed that three times in the four games.

"However, that will be difficult for them this time because we always take the initiative when playing in front of our fans."

Ireland head in to the game with an early lead in the group, but Jorgensen was keen to put those maximum six points in context.

"Look at their two wins; 1-0 over Gibraltar and Georgia," he noted.

"That shows Ireland are the same team we've faced over the past two years.

"Our main priority will be to watch Shane Duffy from set-pieces."

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Meanwhile, Duffy has asserted that unsettling Eriksen is the key to success for Ireland in Copenhagen tomorrow night.

The hosts' build-up to the qualifier has been overshadowed by the playmaker's admission that he wants to leave Tottenham.

Eriksen joined up with Age Hareide’s side late due to his participation in the Champions League final defeat to Liverpool and their star player made headline news around the world yesterday by indicating that he sees his future away from White Hart Lane.

 “I hope there will be a clarification during the summer. That’s the plan,” said Eriksen.

“I feel that I am in a place in my career where I might want to try something new. I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham.”

Real Madrid have been strongly linked with a move for the 27-year-old, who will be expected to get his focus back on the national team for the clash with Mick McCarthy’s side.

Ireland defender Duffy has painful experience of what can happen when Eriksen is given space to shine, and it goes beyond the World Cup play-off defeat in November 2017.

“We’re always very aware of him when we’re playing Spurs,” said the Brighton centre-half.

“You have to be aware of where he pops up in pockets. If you give him a yard to shoot... he scored the winner against us, after we defended very well for 88 minutes, and then he pops up and it goes in the bottom corner. He is a top player.

“We’ve done reasonably well against him (with Ireland) except for that one game.

“And if you give him too much time and space, he will punish you like he did that night. You’ve got to stay with him, get close to him and get tight.

“Hopefully that’s our game-plan: don’t let them get the ball down and stroke it wherever they want to.

“We’re going to put it on them and try and press them early on, try and make them make mistakes.”

The Danes met with a setback last night when defender Andreas Bjelland was ruled out. Ireland flew in yesterday afternoon.

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