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Saturday 21 October 2017

Trap: I can't drop Robbie

'That would be like killing him'

GIOVANNI Trapattoni admitted that he couldn't drop misfiring skipper Robbie Keane after last night's 1-1 draw with Slovakia in Zilina.

The result doesn't quite put Ireland back on track for Euro 2012 qualification but reduced expectations caused by a Russian mauling mean that a precious point is a victory of sorts for Trapattoni and his players.

Keane's missed penalty was the easiest of a number of chances he fluffed and there is now no doubt that he is far below the required sharpness and fitness.

"The last game he scored a goal so the goalkeeper knows where he placed the last penalty," said Trapattoni, offering an explanation for the miss.

But Trap's next sentence told the real story: "He was tired and I could have changed him. But psychologically, that would be like killing him."

Trapattoni arrived in Zilina plagued by doubts and for the first time since he took the job, labouring under a hot spotlight.

But he left in a much more composed frame of mind -- and with qualification for Euro 2012 still on the menu.

"I was asked whether I would get a good reaction from the players after Russia and this time, the team showed us that they wanted to win the game," said Trapattoni.

With Russia scraping by Macedonia with a 1-0 win in Skopje, they stay top of Group B, with the Ireland, Slovakia and Armenia all tied on seven points from four games.

Trapattoni now has a gap of six months before the next competitive fixture against Macedonia in March.

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