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Sunday 21 January 2018

Trapattoni protects legacy as end game looms


Giovanni Trapattoni is in no rush to point the finger of blame at those responsible for an alleged bust-up at the Irish team hotel in May -- and believes such tensions are good in a football squad anyway.

As he awaits any approach from the FAI regarding a new contract, the Italian insisted he will not allow his own reputation to be sullied in the remaining months of his existing deal. The alleged scuffle isn't quite so high on his agenda.

Trapattoni has yet to confirm or deny that a senior player and a member of his backroom team were involved in a fracas in the aftermath of the Carling Nations Cup win over Northern Ireland.

Confirming that he will advise his players to change their drinking habits once again when they assemble for next month's friendly against Croatia, Trap appeared none too bothered by reports of the alleged incident.

"In my experience, a little bit of tension is important," said Trapattoni. "Sometimes it is good to have this in a squad. I have had many teams and many great players and it is better not to let the adrenaline go down. A little bit of tension is good. You must always be on the egde, always ready. For the players and the team, this is important."

Media tensions prompted by late night drinking sessions are not so popular with the Irish team's first continental manager however.

"I have told the players a number of times since I came here that they need to change," stressed Trapattoni. "They have to have a little more responsibility in their work and their mentality. To live this type of intense life you need to be a very well balanced professional.

"It is okay to have a drink after a game. That is the habit, not in Italy but in this part of the world. But if you are falling over you cannot train properly the next day. That is what I repeat to the players.

"It is important for the players to have one evening off after a game but then they must prepare properly for the next five or six days.

"They have to stay professional -- for themselves and for the Irish fans who pay for the tickets to see their team. They must be professional. I believe we have changed this mentality, maybe only a little bit but we have changed it."

Aware that he could be entering the final four months of his time with Ireland -- results against Slovakia, Russia, Andorra and Armenia in the autumn will decide his fate -- Trapattoni remains adamant that other offers are out there.

He is also aware that any lurid headlines, prompted by actions on or off the pitch by his Irish players in the coming months, could damage his future career prospects at home and abroad.

"I have a professional reputation and I cannot destroy that, I am no idiot," insisted Trapattoni. "I have improved Ireland, I know that. We saw the DVDs and the results from previous games. From Cyprus. It is all about results.

"I was with Inter, with Italy, in Portugal and Germany. I myself have a professional responsibility and I cannot destroy that."

Once again Trapattoni insisted that he wants to stay and see the job through with Ireland but he accepts that the remaining Euro qualifiers will determine his fate.

"This could be my last season with Ireland but I wish to clarify that I understand the FAI's position regarding qualification. Obviously I would be sad if I don't get to finish the job I started with Ireland. The team is evolving and growing but we are not finished our job here yet.

"I would be sorry but there are other countries who ask me what will I do when my contract with the FAI is over.

"There are other countries."

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