Giovanni Trapattoni set off on the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 adventure yesterday insisting that their success will rest not on his glorious past but his ability to adapt to the present.
The 73-year-old managed his native Italy and has won league titles at home and in Germany, Portugal and Austria. Under his guidance the Republic have made impressive strides. However, as he and his players flew to their pre-tournament training camp in Montecatini, he was adamant that all that matters now is the future.
Trapattoni said: "I have had many opportunities in the past also because I played in finals as a player. But that is the past. It is important that I show everyone I am still useful. That's what is important, what I can do tomorrow, what I will do in the future. That's important because football changes and it's important I go with football. I still know about the old football.
"There are teams that win and there are teams like Bayern [Munich] which played better [than Chelsea] and lost the Champions League final. That's football. I follow this football, the new football."
The Ireland party boarded the plane in good spirits after a victory over Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday that was significantly more convincing than the scoreline suggests. They did so, however, having lost the midfielder Keith Fahey to the groin injury that has hampered him since he joined up, and his misfortune propelled the former Derby County midfielder Paul Green, who is currently unattached, from the stand-by list into the squad.
Paul McShane, who was called up as defensive cover last week amid a rash of injuries, occupied a 24th seat, and he could yet become a permanent member of the squad with Trapattoni's concerns over John O'Shea and Kevin Foley ongoing, while the goalkeeper Shay Given is working to shake off a knee problem. The manager is well aware of the task facing his side as they attempt to find a way past Spain, Italy and Croatia in Group C, but he is quietly optimistic.
He said: "What I ask always of the team is that we believe in ourselves. We have shown them what we want them to do and they understand. I have said many, many times, there is the show and the result. You can have a beautiful show, but without a good result...
"After three days, the result remains but the show is forgotten, and they understand this. When it's not possible to make a show, you can still achieve the result. Yesterday, the team won, but also played well."Reuse content