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'It's not like us to concede a goal like that, and I don't like that'

The Irish manager reacts to his first win as manager after a flawed performance against Andorra.

Stephen Kenny during Ireland's game with Andorra.
Stephen Kenny during Ireland's game with Andorra.
Image: Bagu Blanco/INPHO

STEPHEN KENNY’S FIRST win as Ireland manager has taken too long and hasn’t exactly  arrived as an uncomplicated triumph: his side fell behind to Andorra in the 52nd minute this evening, relying on a brace from teenager Troy Parrott to lead a comeback, 4-1 victory. 

“We’re pleased to get our first win and I think long overdue, of course”, said Kenny in his post-match press conference.

“We’re looking forward to Hungary on Tuesday. They’ve had a big turn-around, Hungary, they were very interesting and they ended up topping their group and qualifying for the Euros, so it’s a good game for us on Tuesday. It will be up a level again, so we want to try to improve for Tuesday. It was a very strong second half tonight and the players can take confidence from that.” 

The goal Ireland conceded was undeniably soft, however, with Marc Vales totally unmarked in the penalty area to head home from a set piece. 

“We didn’t concede any goals from set pieces since I took over except the second phase against England when it was cleared out and Harry Winks picked it up and sent it in for Harry Maguire in the friendly.”, said Kenny when asked how concerning the manner of the goal was, considering the squad have been working together in camp since last Friday.

“We haven’t conceded from a set play but that was a poor one today and I have to have a look at it. It’s not something we had been focusing on, defending set pieces. We haven’t had that long, only four or five days off with a day off in between that. We can’t train every day coming into a match so we haven’t been focusing on defending set pieces.

“We’ve been working on the creative elements of our game if we can in the different systems. But it was a bad goal to concede and there is not getting away from that. It’s not like us to concede a goal like that from a wide free kick and I don’t like that.” 

“I’m not going to lie to you, it was disappointing to concede the goal”, said Kenny when asked for his frame of mind when Ireland conceded the goal. “You just have to focus on the game very quickly, and not panicking and making too many changes and substitutions. I am not saying I have all the answers but I’m just saying that was my thought process.” 

The Irish manager ultimately had Troy Parrott to thank for turning the game back in Ireland’s favour. 

The players showed a degree of composure themselves – nothing to do with me – to get back into the game.

“Troy has not had his best season but he showed a lot of character”, said Kenny. “I felt that when I was U21 manager away to a very good Sweden team. Troy came into that game with it in the melting pot and got two goals in a match of that calibre.

“You can see his character. That ability to elevate

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“It hasn’t been perfect for him. He still got learning and improving to do when we play against better opposition than we did today but it just shows mentally he has the capacity to do that when it was going against us. For one so young that was encouraging.

“A lot of people said ‘Why is he is in the squad? He should be with the 21s.’ And that he hadn’t justified it.

“I think we needed to have a goal threat. We knew we would have a degree of play in wide areas and he is a very high 10 as opposed to other players. He becomes a second striker at times, he gets in the box and links the play and he has the capacity to score goals. I just felt it would give us an extra impetus.

“Also, we want to have a bit of conviction. Just because we are on a bad run we won’t say ‘we will go away from what we are doing. Scrap it because we are under pressure.’

“We wanted to show a bit of conviction in players like Bazunu and O’Shea. We will get a bigger test against Hungry. They’ll be a tough game on Tuesday.”

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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