Marco Tardelli backtracks on Ireland comments
Former assistant boss: ‘I have fond memories of Ireland, they were fantastic years’
Former Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni with his assistant Marco Tardelli. Photograph: Getty
Marco Tardelli has said that he did not mean to come across as insulting towards the Irish players in an interview he did last week with the Italian sports daily, Gazzetta Dello Sport.
In the piece, Tardelli, who was Ireland assistant manager during Giovanni Trapattoni’s time in charge, was quoted, amongst other things, as suggesting that the players did not understand tactics and attacked recklessly because they did not appreciate the potential consequences.
But the World Cup insists that the comments were taken up wrongly and that he meant no disrespect to Martin O’Neill or any of the Irish players.
“I was trying to explain that this is a team that plays offensively, they put their head down and attack,” he says. “But there is always a moment in a match when you have to stop and take the foot off the accelerator.
“When you say ‘use your head’ in Italian it’s a manner of speech. To give you an example, it’s what I would say to my son. It doesn’t mean you lack intelligence, I am simply saying to you ‘be careful, now it’s time to stop and think’.
“I have the utmost respect for this team and these players and I would never say anything to offend them. I have fond memories of Ireland, they were fantastic years.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Martin O’Neill and I wish him and the team all the best in this tournament and in the future.
“It will be a tough match, France are playing at home, and we know very well what they are like at home! But if Ireland repeat the same performance as against Italy then they will have a good opportunity to succeed.”