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Dublin: -1°C Thursday 6 May 2021

'It doesn't hurt, because I don't care' - Bullish Kenny not bothered by criticism

The Irish manager was defiant at the end of a very troubling week.

Stephen Kenny.
Stephen Kenny.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

STEPHEN KENNY SAYS he is not hurt by the criticism that has been thrown his way after last Saturday’s defeat to Luxembourg, as he struck a defiant tone in the aftermath of tonight’s 1-1 draw with Qatar.   

Asked whether he had been affected by the flak that has been flying since losing 1-0 at the Aviva Stadium, Kenny’s response was emphatic.

“To be honest with you, I’ve experienced a lot in my life. I feel really strong. It doesn’t hurt, because you know what? I don’t care. I know what I’m doing. I’m very clear what I am doing, I have real clarity in what I am trying to implement, and I don’t care what anyone says. I am very clear in what I am doing and it is irrelevant to me what other people think.

“There are people coming out of the woodwork wanting to kick us while we’re down, and that’s very evident. And maybe that’s to be expected. Some people have turned very quickly, but we will get back on track and will give the Irish supporters a team they can be very proud of.” 

Kenny says he accepts that he must take criticism having lost to Luxembourg, but also stressed the positives of the group of young players who have broken into the senior team for the first time.

“We would have been a lot happier  if we had beaten Luxembourg, but that is a result I have to live with. They have won quite a few games recently, but that’s one we have to contend with and I have to accept criticism for that, I am not trying to deflect from that. That is something you have to accept. 

“We are very determined to improve, we are implementing a style of play, I have spoken countless times about the number of players we have brought through, which hasn’t happened in a decade or more. We had one player through in eight years.

“This is a new era of these players coming into the team and learning from the likes of Seamus Coleman, James McClean and all of those players, what it means to play for Ireland and the values they hold. That can only improve them. I think we have a lot of talent coming through, okay all of them may not be ready now, but they will be in due course.” 

Ireland rounded out a difficult window with a 1-1 friendly draw in Hungary tonight, saying it was a game his side should have won. 

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“I felt it was a good game overall and quite an open game, two teams who played progressively. Qatar are quick on the counter attack, they have dynamic players with speed, but overall I felt we deserved to win the game.

“We probably had four of five very good chances, and two in the last 10 minutes, I don’t know how we didn’t score in the end. We are disappointed not to win the game overall.” 

Ireland are second-from-bottom in their group with zero points from two games following losses to Serbia and Luxembourg. They don’t play competitively again until September, with friendlies with Hungary and Andorra slated as part of a nine-day training camp in Spain this summer.

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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