Wednesday 21 March 2018

Mendieta: Trapattoni gets results, that's all that matters

IF it ain't broken, why try to fix it? A simple enough assessment of Ireland under Giovanni Trapattoni from Spanish legend Gaizka Mendieta but backed up with some impressive logic.

The man who broke Irish hearts in Suwon ten years ago this June has an obvious interest in seeing Spain win against Ireland in another major tournament but he has down to earth advice for those who question Trapattoni's methods.

"Initially, we (Spain) used to play in a certain way. When someone comes and tells you that you have to play a new way, it is difficult. But it gives you results and seems to be working so far. So stick with it. Why not?"

Why not indeed? It's an argument which reverberates down through the years from 1990 onwards and Mendieta, in Dublin with the UEFA Euro 2012 trophy, knows which side he's on.

Mendieta compares Trapattoni with Claudio Ranieri who he worked with at Valencia and sees close similarities.

"Ranieri was similar to Trapattoni. In the beginning he tried to make us play like an Italian team and the supporters didn't like that. Then we qualified to play in the Champions League and won cups. People didn't remember the beginning after that."

"Supporters are demanding, it's the same everywhere. It's nice to play well and win, but not many teams can do that. As players we felt the same as the supporters. As a footballer you want to play well. But it was worth it."

"If Ireland achieve something big in this tournament, nobody will think about the way they played. I cannot doubt Trapattoni's experience. He's been in Italy and Germany and won absolutely everything everywhere he has been. He knows what he is doing."

"In 90 minutes anything can happen. Against Spain, Barcelona or Real Madrid you must be at 100 or 110pc and do things really, really well. In football, nothing goes according to theory."

"For Spain, most of the players are from Barcelona. They've won Leagues, World Cups, everything possible. They have shown that they still have the hunger and they could set a new record by winning the three titles in a row. Nobody has done that so far and they could be the first ones."

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