Whelan hints at disquiet over tactics
REACTION:GLENN WHELAN came as close any Irish player has in some time to questioning the tactics of manager Giovanni Trapattoni in the wake of last night’s crushing defeat and – with one group game still to play – elimination from these European Championships.
The Stoke City midfielder had, like most of his team-mates, endured a torrid night at the hands of Torres and co.
He readily admitted that they contributed a good deal to their own downfall with a succession errors – many of which were forced – aiding the Spanish effort but, he insisted, the task of holding the world champions at bay in midfield was not made any easier by the manager’s insistence on broadly sticking with his rigid tactical approach.
“It’s hard when you’re playing two in there and they’ve got three, four and five,” he said. “But it’s got us here and it’s the way the manager wants us to play so all you can do is your best and I think we’ve given it our all against the top players in the world and I think we can still hold our heads up high
“The manager wants us to play with two up top and whatever the manager wants us to do we have to do because he picks the team.
“But look, I think against Spain you have to be tight and compact and unfortunately we weren’t like that in the second half, although that’s down to tired legs as well.
“Obviously it’s hard to take. Spain are, I’d say, definitely the best side in the world. But still, sloppy goals were conceded and it killed us. They have been down to us. I think that they’ve created chances without really ripping us open much. Shay had one or two good saves to make but other than that I think the goals we’ve given away are mainly down to us.”
The timing of the goals was a factor again, with Ireland conceding at key moments, the start of each half, when they would have been expected to be especially alert to the danger.
The Dubliner admits that only added to the pain of what was a devastating defeat.
“All credit to Spain, they deserved to win but, yeah, definitely, it was something we talked about beforehand. We tried to stop it, to keep ourselves in the game this time but after three minutes we were chasing the game again. I don’t know what it is, about three minutes, but whatever it is, it’s killing us.”
The instructions prior to kick off had, he says, a familiar ring to them.