Robbie Keane offers backing to under pressure Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

 

Robbie Keane planted himself firmly in Giovanni Trapattoni's corner after helping the Republic of Ireland to a resounding 4-1 World Cup qualifier victory in the Faroe Islands.

The 32-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy striker returned from the Achilles injury which kept him out of Friday night's 6-1 hammering by Germany at the Aviva Stadium which had thrown the manager's future into such doubt.

He and his team-mates provided a timely response on the pitch, and then the 122-times-capped striker confirmed his continued support for the veteran Italian.

Asked if he expects Trapattoni to lead the nation into the rest of the campaign, Keane said: "Of course, yes.

"Listening to his press conference yesterday, first of all, he's not going anywhere.

"He knows that with the squad of players we have, we are quite capable of qualifying, and I believe we can qualify, there's no question about that.

"I still believe we can qualify and I am sure the manager believes that too, so I believe that the manager will be there with us.

"It's out of my hands, but I am sure every player would probably say the same, we want him to stay and continue this campaign."

Trapattoni got just the response he wanted from his players as they shook off the psychological damage of their German disaster to answer their critics in the best possible way.

They were made to wait until the first minute of the second half to get their noses in front when full-back Marc Wilson's 30-strike clipped the head of Jonas Naes and flew into the top corner.

It was 2-0 seven minutes later when Jon Walters headed Wilson's cross towards goal and Keane attempted to turn it home ahead of keeper Gunnar Nielsen.

Both men claimed it, but Keane was adamant that it was the 55th goal of his international career.

He said: "I definitely did get a little touch on it. I am sure Jon will want it, but listen, I am not really too bothered.

"As long as we got the three points, that was the most important thing."

The Faroes thought they were back in it when substitute Arnbjorn Hansen reduced the deficit with 22 minutes remaining, but Pol Justinussen's own goal and a late header from Darren O'Dea wrapped up a comfortable win.

The post-match press conference was dominated by further questions over Trapattoni's situation, but the man himself was adamant he was continuing to look to the future.

Asked if he expected to still be in charge for the rest of the campaign, he said: "We have in November another game.

"I expect. We started three games ago - we have won two games, we have lost one against the best team [in Group C]."

PA

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