Trapattoni happy to make his point as Ireland’s youth take their chance
Manager satisfied with result and praises efforts of younger players against Sweden
Sweden’s Mikael Lustig is stopped by Republic of Ireland’s James McCarthy and James McClean during last night’s game in Stockholm. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA
Sweden's Andreas Granqvist and Shane Long of Ireland go for the ball
The dynamic of the Group C qualifying table might have shifted slightly thanks to a well earned draw for Ireland here in Stockholm but it was business as usual at the manager’s post match press conference when Giovanni Trapattoni was upbeat, undefeated and slightly indecipherable.
After the unfortunate events of last summer and the pummelling his side took at home from Germany, the unbeaten bit comes with a footnote of course: Ireland have yet to lose a qualifying game on the road under the now 74-year-old Italian.
The record may not survive the calendar year but the fact it did last night and his side had become the first from this country ever to avoid defeat on Swedish soil may yet prove to be critically important when the final Group C table takes shape in October.
Had they lost last night, of course, the calls for Trapattoni’s resignation would have been loud and he, no doubt, would have produced a bit of noise himself. As it was, he came across as quietly satisfied with it all; a verdict that, at least until the Sunday journalists huddled around him at the end, seemed to be shared by those who made up the bulk of his audience.
“We started very well in the first few minutes,” he said, “and created a great opportunity for Shane Long who could have struck his shot better. After that the game was evenly balanced I think. I don’t know if Sweden was afraid of us but we were not afraid of them. It was very, very important for us not to concede a goal because until now we have played many games without losing an away game but we achieved that and we are satisfied.
The Italian was, he said, especially pleased with the way the younger and less experienced players had risen to what was a very big occasion. “We have tried to change the team slowly, slowly, slowly but against Poland we were missing some players and so we have had to change more.
“But we played well against Poland and all of our young players will take confidence from this game and improve more in the future as a result. I think in the future this can become a great team.
“For the moment, though, we have shown that choose the young ones when it is the right time. Also I said to you before the game that we would look for the moment when we could change things so as to have Hoolahan playing with one striker.
“I said that we would do this and we did. I think after this we can take more confidence, be more technical and play better football. And our goalkeeper, others were injured and we chose Forde. I have particular respect for Forde, he played well tonight and I congratulate him on his performance.