Wednesday 22 November 2017

Making new friends not on Trapattoni's agenda

DION FANNING

It wasn't a week that taught Giovanni Trapattoni much about his Irish team, but there are times when you can learn a lot from listening to Ireland's manager.

As he reflected on the week which at least allowed him to feel he was in control of all his squad again, Trapattoni turned to other matters, to Manchester City, his friend Roberto Mancini and his non-friendship with a predecessor, Brian Kerr.

Last week, Kerr criticised Trapattoni's failure to attend matches in England, which is a legitimate complaint, especially from a man who spent most of his time at airports while he was in charge.

"I saw many, many games more in three years," Trapattoni insisted. "When I miss one or two games, I get a DVD in Italy. I pass my time watching video. I saw two-three hundred DVDs. I could also ask him how many game he saw?"

Trapattoni did indeed spend the afternoons during his recent holidays watching DVDs, but as he is rather sceptical of the whole notion of a football man needing a holiday, this probably passed for recreation. He has responded to complaints of Kerr's before, even if he expressed the hope last week that they could be friends when Ireland play the Faroe Islands in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

He didn't sound like he wanted to be friends. "I've no interest in other colleagues, formal or not. I live for my jobs, not what others do. I stick to my own -- there are words and there are results. That's my mentality. The other is when you create attention because you have no other argument."

When Kerr's name was mentioned again, he shrugged. "I don't wish to speak with him for this reason -- is he angry? I don't know. It's not my problem, I only wish to speak about football. My only interest is when we play the Faroes when he comes here, or we go there.

"I'm not going to sit here and say, 'what happened when Kerr was in charge'. I don't analyse what he did or not. I know you have to ask -- I have 30 years in management, I can answer, but I only think about my house and my players."

There were other things on his mind too. He wondered about the proposal from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala to pay Samuel Eto'o €300,000 a week. Trapattoni recalled his time at Juventus when sometimes the club's former president and patriarch Gianni Agnelli would remind him of the workers in the Fiat factory.

"My teacher was the great Agnelli of Fiat. When one or two foreign players have possibility to come, and they cost 5 billion lira, about €2m now, he said 'Giovanni, we have workmen in our factory, we couldn't spend this -- how could I explain this? Say to me another name', I say 'perfect Agnelli', and the player go away."

At Manchester City, they have different considerations. Trapattoni has been a mentor to Roberto Mancini and he thinks his compatriot is now in a stronger position.

"I think Roberto had difficult moment in first season, when he had to clarify with the team the Italian system that they train two times, once in the morning then technical in the afternoon. He won the battle. The results justified his method and proved him right."

Yet Trapattoni is aware of the danger of boring players with too much training, something Mancini has been accused of. "We divide the sessions. It's important psychologically, you lost the concentration of the players over two hours -- that's what the experts say."

Trapattoni is the expert too and he knows that Mancini is trying to shape the team and that money can only take you so far. "I think in one or two years the Sheikh will understand immediately it's not the money that wins. It's not possible."

Sunday Indo Sport

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