Tuesday 12 December 2017

Players must take blame but it's not all over, says Richard Dunne

Ruaidhri O'Connor and Liam Kelly

RICHARD DUNNE said that the players need to take their share of responsibility for the defeat to Sweden that leaves Ireland's World Cup chances hanging by a thread.

Giovanni Trapattoni's future as manager is in serious doubt after the loss that leaves the Swedes in pole position to book a play-off spot, and Ireland must win in Austria and get a result in Germany to give themselves any chance of qualifying.

Dunne made his return to competitive action in the 2-1 defeat that saw the home side start brilliantly at Lansdowne Road but then fade.

But he refused to blame the manager or entertain speculation about his future in the wake of what his team-mate John O'Shea described as an "extremely devastating" loss.

"I don't know," he said when asked about the Italian's future. "The manager has done brilliant for us for the last five years. We're all under pressure – we have to try and get the win on Tuesday night and give ourselves a chance.

"We're not done, we know it's very difficult now but we have to keep going and believe. We wanted four points this week, we can't do it so it's a must-win in Austria."


Despite the loss, Robbie Keane set his sights on atonement against Austria.

"It's definitely not gone. Never say never. Is it going to be difficult? Of course. You can't be naive to think it's going to be easy," the captain insisted. "But Sweden are going to a tough place in Kazakhstan. We have a tough game too and we have to win. It's as simple as that.

"You can't fault the lads' effort and desire. We had a lot of energy, but that means nothing when we don't have the points. To be fair, they scored two good goals."

O'Shea described the Vienna clash on Tuesday as a "cup final" after what he saw as a major lost opportunity in the race for the runner-up spot.

The defender acknowledged that Ireland now need favours and after hearing that Austria had lost 3-0 to Germany said that both sides would be desperate to earn a result.

"We need help. We have to go out and help ourselves against Austria, go out and win. But it is not in our hands unfortunately," he said. "It is about salvaging pride – every respect to Austria we have nothing to fear over there.

"It's disappointing. There is plenty to improve on, we'll watch Austria v Germany and go from there.

"Both teams are going into it like a cup final. It is simple as knock-out now. Sweden have to go to Kazakhstan and if they do win... there is still time for something to happen, but unfortunately we'll have to get a result in Germany."

Irish Independent

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