Shell-shocked Trapattoni comes up with the same old excuses
EMMET MALONEfinds an under pressure Republic of Ireland boss trying to defend the indefensible
GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI looked almost as shaken as his players when he came to explain what he had just seen last night. Rarely would the 73-year-old have been better served by speaking to his critics in his native Italian but instead he persisted with the politeness of faltering English. From early on, the tone of the questions suggested it was not a night for niceties.
In the end he repeatedly fell back on the suggestion that he had inherited something of a shambles and, over time, transformed things.
After a night like this, though, it was not a case that was easy to make, for no manager had ever presided over a worse defeat in Dublin than this and precious few had ever been involved in anything like it on the road.
More than once he highlighted the shortcomings of the group at his disposal and challenged those present to point him in the direction of any undetected talent.
“We have changed maybe 15 players from the squad that we picked four years ago but these are the best players that Ireland has,” he said before adding starkly: “There are no others.
“I don’t look for the excuse that we were missing Richard Dunne, Seán St Ledger, Robbie Keane and Glenn Whelan but these were the best players that we had available to us. Do you,” he asked, and not for the first time, in a tense 20 minute encounter with the media, “know of any others?”
“He is, he ultimately insisted, still “proud of these players and their results,” but when one reporter asked him why he would want to stick around with a side so easily overrun he asked whether the journalist’s newspapers was the best. “I need the money,” came the reply. “Do you?”
The Italian cited his previous career successes and sought to make the case that he can, despite the enormity of the defeat here, still make progress with Ireland.
“We played poorly,” he said. “Usually we are more confident but after those first 30 minutes we lacked energy. Normally we have more direction but for Germany it was easy to pass the ball and for us it was very difficult to keep it.
“Obviously it is difficult to explain. In the first 30 minutes we had a good balance. They played ahead of us but they didn’t make it so difficult for us.
“After the goal, though, we made it more easy for them. It was very difficult to keep the ball for us and when they took it they counter-attacked very well.
“But this evening,” he continued “we have played a strong team; physically and technically and,” he added, “we have no excuses.”
Joachim Löw was nearly as damning in his way. “It was a very competent performance by our team, right from the word go it was palpable we had the presence on the pitch.
“There was good organisation and we were well-prepared for the long ball game that Ireland were going to be playing.
“The balance and the tempo and the retention of possession were all good. There was patience. The result,” he said, “I thought was okay although 6-1 was maybe a bit high. We converted the chances that we got and came through. It was pleasing because Germany have not won in Ireland in a long time.”
As for Tuesday, he concluded: “The Swedes, unlike the Irish team tonight, are happy to play some combination play and not just long balls. If we keep to our own organisations, keep playing consistently, keep our passing game going, we will keep creating chances. And if we win it will be a great finish to our year.”