Management style at fault for failure

We haven’t got a man that can drag us kicking and screaming to the World Cup finals as Roy Keane once did

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni in Vienna last night. “We can’t call ourselves unlucky against Austria at home. They deserved that draw. And still we heard excuses about injury time and bad luck. Austria also deserved to win last night.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni in Vienna last night. “We can’t call ourselves unlucky against Austria at home. They deserved that draw. And still we heard excuses about injury time and bad luck. Austria also deserved to win last night.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Wed, Sep 11, 2013, 10:00

Let’s not linger on last night in Vienna. From the very start of this qualification campaign we were riding our luck. That Kazakhstan match on day one was an abysmal performance, but the team just about pulled out the result.

Then came the hammer blow: The humiliating 6-1 defeat at home to Germany forced change from a manager so set in his ways.

It forced him to start watching his players in the flesh. But he needed to be pushed into that.

We have let the Italians make a fool of us all.

Too many incidents and clashes followed between players and the Italian management. It was put down to misunderstandings.

But the arguments and lack of effort from the manager accumulated in results that transpired before our eyes.

We can’t call ourselves unlucky against Austria at home. They deserved that draw. And still we heard excuses about injury time and bad luck. Austria also deserved to win last night. Lucky was winning in Kazakhstan.

Sweden deserved their win in Dublin last Friday night because they had the most outstanding player on the pitch in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

But we haven’t got that type of player anymore. We haven’t got a man that can drag us kicking and screaming to the World Cup finals as Roy Keane once did.

Again, we were watching two average teams last night. The difference was a wonderful 21-year-old, David Alaba.

He was miles ahead of every one when he got on the ball. And he got on the ball at will.


Period of transition

We don’t have that now. we don’t have a young player that makes us want to watch this team every time they take the field. We don’t have a young Robbie Keane. We don’t have a player like Damien Duff that we know will serve up the highest quality for a decade.

James McCarthy maybe, but we don’t have another Duffer coming through. Or a Roy Keane who can dominate against midfield.

We don’t have a Paul McGrath.

But we do have a supporting cast to be moulded into a team to respected.

The Italians didn’t help themselves. Trapattoni didn’t help this period of transition, or depression, depending on your viewpoint, by sitting home in Milan.

The little details he so often speaks about were not evident in his managerial style in recent times. The tactics have not been suited to the players at his disposal.

I don’t agree with him when he says Irish players are not capable of passing the ball around. They are professional footballers, many playing in the Premier League. They can pass the ball. I’ve seen them do it.

I refuse to accept that. For our own morale we must keep the ball longer. For our own morale the manager shouldn’t be speaking like that.

What Robbie said was wrong. It’s not true that we’ve only ever played one way since he has been wearing an Irish jersey.

A captain shouldn’t be saying that.

Previous managers, including myself, would have encouraged defenders to pass the ball into midfield. We would have encouraged the goalkeeper, as the first option, to throw the ball to a fullback or centre half.

I’m positive Mick McCarthy and Steve Staunton would have said the same.

I think Trapattoni’s choice of Robbie as Ireland captain is flawed. He is a great servant to Irish football, our most experienced player, our record goal scorer, our saviour on so many occasions. But as a leader, I disagree. As a leader from the front, I don’t see it of late.

This is not a knee-jerk reaction. I’ve been blowing this trumpet for a long time.

To say the players are simply not there is a cop-out. Plenty of football nations would be happy to have our pool of players. Look where many of them ply their trade.

It’s about generating morale and tactics that suit the players to make an effective collective. That’s a team. Yes, we have a lot of average players playing at a decent level. Many a country would be happy to have 15 to 20 players in Premiership squads.

Trapattoni tells us he has found new players, that he has rebuilt this squad but many of them were sticking out long before he got around to picking them. Maybe the DVD player wasn’t working.

He chose to ignore Seamus Coleman for the European championship squad; didn’t feel he was good enough. That was ridiculous.

The Italian experiment was justified by qualification for Poland but what has happened since doesn’t justify further investment in them.

Not for me. And not for most people who love Irish football.

It has damaged the way other nations look at us and the way English clubs view us. The communication channels there need to be repaired.

There was no shortage of graft last night but we were overrun by the sheer desire Austria had to win the match.

One-nil merely shows how lacking Austria are as a team. It’s unlikely they will make it to Brazil either.

What we need next is a manager who is prepared to give his full commitment to Irish football. Not stay at home saying it is good enough to watch clips. We need someone to rebuild a connection with the Irish public.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be an Irish man, but that’s the challenge at the FAI’s doorstep this morning.

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