Giovanni Trapattoni to remain in charge of Republic of Ireland

 

Giovanni Trapattoni is to remain as Republic of Ireland manager after being told he has the continued backing of his employers.

The 73-year-old headed back to Milan yesterday after making yet another bullish defence of his four-and-a-half-year reign in the wake of Tuesday's 4-1 World Cup qualifier victory in the Faroe Islands.

He did so with his future still up in the air after days of speculation that Friday night's 6-1 home defeat to Germany would bring a premature end to his tenure.

But Trapattoni last night received confirmation that he would remain in charge for next month's friendly against Greece and beyond after a meeting of the Football Association of Ireland's board.

A spokesman said: "The board of the FAI met today and discussed Ireland's performances in the World Cup qualifying campaign to date and the prospects of achieving qualification for Brazil 2014.

"The board agreed that convening a meeting between the Germany and Faroe Islands matches and/or commenting on the Germany game or the manager's position prior to last night's game would have been totally inappropriate.

"Following today's discussions, the board, while disappointed like everyone with the poor result and performance against Germany and understanding the frustration of some of our supporters, believes the current position in the group means that qualification for Brazil in 2014 remains a realistic and achievable prospect, and reaffirmed that Giovanni Trapattoni is to remain in charge of the national team.

"The board recognises the depth of feeling surrounding the team, the performances, the results and the manager, reflecting the passion which everyone in Irish football has for the game, and will continue to work closely with the manager."

Trapattoni insisted he was unaware of the speculation which dominated this week's trip to Torshavn, but neither he nor his players could have been in any doubt that anything other than a victory at the Torsvollur Stadium could have proved fatal.

In the event, the players responded in style to secure a relatively comfortable victory which keeps alive their hopes of edging out Sweden and Austria to at least claim second spot behind Group C favourites Germany and secure a berth to Brazil in 2014.

Trapattoni's critics were in full voice during the Euro 2012 finals as the Republic lost all three group matches, but the fact remains that they have lost only two qualifiers - to Russia and Germany - since the former Italy boss took over in May 2008.

Just how long Trapattoni retains the faith of the FAI board remains to be seen, with the double-header against Sweden and Austria in March likely to be key to their qualification hopes.

But while there will be many who still believe he should have gone, several of his players spoke up for him after Tuesday night's game.

Defender Darren O'Dea said: "God's honest truth, there is no uncertainty and there's no speculation within the team. The team knows the score and that's that the boss is the boss and everyone believes in him 100%.

"That's not a cliche to cover things up, it's true. There is no uncertainty within that team and the whole camp."

PA

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