Tuesday 21 November 2017

Nobody could do job better than me, insists Trapattoni

Manager in defiant mood

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni during a press conference at Gannon Park, Malahide yesterday. Photo: Paul Mohan
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni during a press conference at Gannon Park, Malahide yesterday. Photo: Paul Mohan

Marie Crowe, Dion Fanning

Giovanni Trapattoni declared yesterday that whoever succeeds him as Ireland manager won't do a better job.

With Martin O'Neill the favourite to take over from Trapattoni and Roy Keane understood to be interested, Trapattoni insisted that when his successor is appointed there will be few changes to the personnel or the game plan.

"If the FAI decides I go because they start a new way then no problem," Trapattoni said in Malahide yesterday.

"I'm sure the next manager will not change a lot now because we improve this, we move the team, and there is no other player because we discover the Irish players, all the Irish players," he said, even if this was a tacit acknowledgement that his time was coming to an end.

When asked if a new manager would change the way the team plays, Trapattoni was again defiant, offering his phone to the questioner. "I give you my telephone number, after one or two games you can call me."

Questions about his future dominated yesterday's press conference but Trapattoni was defiant when challenged about his high salary.

"Firstly, I don't think about my salary or not. I could also have bigger salary in another country. Until now, until yesterday, my job was very well. Not only famous. I showed the result. I show you result in Italy, Germany, and Portugal."

Trapattoni's salary would not be a problem if Ireland had achieved results but after Friday's home defeat to Sweden, that is a long shot and the FAI know they will have to consider his successor.

Brian McDermott was regarded as the favourite last season but O'Neill's departure from Sunderland has altered the race and the FAI, who pursued O'Neill before they appointed Steve Staunton, will believe he could have a galvanising effect on the squad and enthuse the Irish public.

Keane, too, would generate public interest but his failure at Ipswich Town and his strained relationship with the FAI's CEO, John Delaney, means he is a long shot, even if his relationship with Delaney shouldn't matter if his ideas for the position were appealing enough.

Mick McCarthy is another possibility while there has been increased support for Alex Ferguson's former assistant, René Meulensteen, recently departed as Anzhi coach. Meulensteen would not comment yesterday except to state that he had not been contacted by the FAI about the job and had nothing further to add.

Trapattoni continues to believe, despite the results, that nobody could do better.

TIME NOW FOR A RADICAL OVERHAUL

"I don't know if you know how many titles I have in career. I'm not arrogant but maybe only Ferguson has a record. He was 25 years in one big club. I'd like to see Ferguson change five countries."

Ireland are now in a situation where they need a win over Austria in Vienna on Tuesday along with a number of favourable results elsewhere if they want to secure second place in the group. Last night Glenn Whelan pulled out of that game with a hamstring strain and Hull City's Stephen Quinn was called in to replace him.

But despite the run of disappointing performances and results, the manager wants to finish his contract if the FAI allows him to do so. He wants to be in charge for the next campaign and is happy with how his squad is developing.

"I am happy because I say we are a good team, we have good players with good technique. But with the great teams, the great teams, the great players, there is one player, Messi, Platini, Marco Tardelli who can change the result. I know this. I'm not frustrated because I am proud to be in Ireland. I understand Ireland."

Ireland are now fourth in the group, well behind runaway leaders Germany, three points behind Sweden, and level on 11 points with Tuesday's opponents Austria, although with a vastly inferior goal difference. "We must not lose the third place," said Trapattoni. It is unlikely to be enough to save his job but the manager was defiant.

Throughout his time with Ireland he has advised those who want a show to go to the opera. In Vienna this week he predicted drama. "We'll see what the opera is like here when I win in Austria."

Sunday Independent

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