Giovanni Trapattoni optimistic and confident

Ireland manager suggests teamwork can nullify the threat of Ibrahimovic next month

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni shouts instructions from the touchline during the friendly 0-0 draw with Wales at Cardiff City Stadium. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni shouts instructions from the touchline during the friendly 0-0 draw with Wales at Cardiff City Stadium. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Thu, Aug 15, 2013, 20:32

Despite Ireland’s failure to convert their chances in Cardiff last night, Giovanni Trapattoni says he saw enough in his side’s performance to move towards next month’s vital World Cup qualifiers with renewed confidence.

“I think this result given us the opportunity to go into the Sweden game with optimism and confidence,” he said in Newport this morning, “and to go forward and qualify.

“We confirmed the quality of our goalkeeper and our defence and I was happy to see that our young players our improving as they gain experience in the team. We had great opportunities to win the game and with Robbie’s (Keane) experience I think he would have made one of the chances into a goal but it’s natural that some of the younger players were anxious ... I am happy with the performance.”

Paddy Madden had three opportunities to mark his senior international debut with a goal but it is Shane Long who will return to his club the most disappointed that he failed to find the net. The West Brom striker had clearcut chances in both halves but fired over an open goal in the first and straight at the goalkeeper in the second.

“Shane is experienced but even the greatest players can miss sometimes from five metres; that’s football.”

Overall, he insisted, the balance of the team is now far better than it was a year ago when Ireland were humiliated at home by Germany.

“I take many positives from this performance,” he said. “I was concerned before it that the players might forget all that they had done well in the matches before the summer but we played well when in possession of the ball and had opportunities to score. If we can keep our balance, particularly out on the wings, then I’m sure we can do well in the remaining qualifying games.”

Trapattoni is expected to name his squad for the games against Sweden and Austria next Friday when Keane is, barring injury, certain to be recalled but there are major doubts about David Forde, Seán St Ledger, Richard Dunne and Aiden McGeady.

Of those, Dunne is the only one currently fit to play and yet Trapattoni seems disinclined to recall him until he has nailed down a regular spot in the QPR team. He may well, however, name all of the others and give them as much time as possible to recover from their current injuries.

Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic underlined the threat he will pose in Dublin on September 6th when he scored a hat-trick against Norway last night.

Trapattoni pointed out that cutting the supply lines to the striker will be the most effective way of limiting his influence when Ireland look to steal a march on Sweden and Austria in the race for a play-off spot next month.

“Ibra is a typical striker who scores a lot of goals,” said the Italian. “He is one of these special players like Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. But, even with players like that, you have to remember the team is important. He needs a team around him. We are one team, we all support each other and we are one on the pitch and that is our strength.

“We have a good balance to our play, the players know what I am asking of them and when we need to focus and defend, we do it. Obviously there is a lot of quality in individual players and Ibrahimovic can score in any situation at any moment, but we have a good attitude and mentality at the moment and we are confident.”