Republic of Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli at training today. INPHO/Donall Farmer
Fighting Talk

Marco Tardelli: The Irish fans must be very proud of this team

Giovanni Trapattoni’s assistant coach has ruled out moving Marc Wilson to centre midfield for the Austria game.

“I DREAM OF things that never were and say, why not?”

John F Kennedy paraphrased Irish author George Bernard Shaw in a famous, 1963 speech to the Dáil. Kennedy used Shaw’s words to encapsulate the drive, determination and creativity that, he believed, made the Irish so unique.

30 heroic minutes were drowned out by an hour of depressing, gritty realism from the Republic of Ireland in their 2-1 loss to Sweden. Barring a string of unlikely results, Irish dreams of a spot at next summer’s World Cup will soon be forever as ‘never were’.

Marco Tardelli, Ireland’s assistant manager, was high on praise for his beaten troops and insisted Irish fans need not wake up to reality just yet.

Tardelli dismissed fitness worries over Jonathan Walters and Shane Long and said both should be good to play against Austria on Tuesday. “My mood is really good,” he said. “The players are very proud to represent their team. They need that to go to Austria and win the game.”

In striving for that win in Vienna, Tardelli has cautioned against stacking the Irish midfield with gung-ho attackers. He said:

We played against Sweden with three strikers: Walters, Robbie Keane and Shane Long. And James McLean is not a defensive player. Three strikers is enough for any team.”

Save Keane’s goal, long range efforts and a McLean cross that dipped and struck the Swedish crossbar, there was a dearth of genuine goal-scoring chances during Friday’s loss. Tardelli pointed to recent matches against Georgia [4-0], Faroe Islands [3-0] and Wales [0-0] as proof that Ireland have an attacking threat. He added, however, that ‘two or three’ scoring chances per game is enough.

The Italian dismissed the option of playing Marc Wilson in centre-midfield, preferring to keep the Stoke man at left back, but confirmed that Wes Hoolahan’s name would be in the hat for a starting role.

Under Trapattoni, his assistant declared, Ireland always go out to win. He commented, “The Irish fans must be very proud of this team because this team, when they are on the pitch, always try to do their best.”

“One year ago, the people that are criticising Giovanni were praising Giovanni,” he added.

Tardelli was asked if the players, who have now endured two home losses in the current qualifiers, were confident of travelling to Austria and returning home with a win. “Why not?” he responded.

Why not? We could be here all day answering that one.

– Audio courtesy of 98FM

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