Trapattoni adamant he still has the backing of the players
Manager in bullish mood despite crushing defeat to Sweden
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni makes his point at Saturday’s press conference at Gannon Park in Malahide. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Giovanni Trapattoni insists he still has the backing of his players as he prepares to mount a seemingly futile mission to rescue both World Cup qualification and his own future.
Friday night’s 2-1 home defeat by Sweden left dreams of finishing second in Group C behind Germany in extreme jeopardy.
In addition, Trapattoni, who is contracted only until the end of Ireland’s involvement whether or not it extends to Brazil next summer, found himself clinging grimly to his job amid concerted calls for him to go.
In the immediate aftermath of the game, the 74-year-old Italian mounted a defiant defence of his record, and he was equally bullish on Saturday morning as he began his preparations for Tuesday night’s trip to Austria, where defeat would all but mathematically consign hopes of a South American adventure to the scrapheap.
But asked if he was confident he still enjoyed the support of his players, he said: “Ask them, ask them this. The players believe in what they have done and until this result, why should they change their habit?”
Skipper Robbie Keane was refusing to be drawn into the growing clamour for action after a sizable proportion of a packed house at the Aviva Stadium greeted the final whistle with a chorus of boos.
The striker said: “I’m certainly not going down that road because as professionals, as far as we are concerned he is the manager and we are going to give him 100 per cent backing. Don’t forget, we have a game on Tuesday as well.”
Central defender John O’Shea too was diplomatic when asked about the manager’s continued presence.
He said: “That’s not up to me to decide. If we don’t qualify, they are the things that will be asked. Let’s wait and see.”
He said: “It was always a strong group with Germany, Sweden and also Austria. It was a tough group.
“But we must continue for our growth and to develop our personality. Maybe in the future we can be a little bit more because now we have changed the squad.
“We have many young players and I think they can improve their personality, their confidence and their trust. We must continue this.
“Also if we finish third in the table behind Germany and Sweden and better than Austria, that must increase our personality.”