BUMBLING Marco Tardelli tried to dismiss the controversy surrounding Kevin Doyle and his boss Giovanni Trapattoni, but instead managed to throw petrol on a smouldering fire.
Tardelli was quick to defend Trapattoni's decision to drop Doyle and refused to concede that a phone call might have been a better method to deliver the bad news than a text.
"Kevin Doyle knows that we love him. Because we owe him a lot, because in the past on the pitch he work very hard for us. It is not the last time Kevin Doyle will be back here," said Tardelli.
"We love Kevin Doyle like we love all players. But sometimes we need to choose the players for the Irish team. We think at this moment, we think it is better for him to stay out and take another player.
"We know that he is a good player for us and it is possible in the future for him to come back."
Doyle's public statement confirming that he was told about his exclusion from the squad by text and that he was disappointed not to receive a call had little impact on Tardelli.
"If the boss calls him and you say me it was better than an SMS. If the boss send him the SMS, you tell me it is better than a call," he said.
"It is the same thing. We love all players that give us many successes and I think that all players deserve the same thing.
"This is normal. I send the SMS to Whelan to find out if he feels well or not because after the first half after the last match, he come off and I send him the message. It is the same, it is normal.
"I sent a message to Damien Duff, Richard Dunne, all players. I can't call all players if they are in or not. It is normal... nobody send me a call when they decided to stop me playing in the national team. It is normal. No call, nothing."
And there in a nutshell is the heart of the problem. Culturally, Trapattoni and Tardelli worked in a different school and what seems vindictive to Ireland fans, is part of the gig in Italy.
But Trapattoni and Tardelli are supposed to be working in Ireland, not Italy, and here it is normal for an international manager to be gentle with a loyal servant when there is bad news to tell.
"No, I know the player is disappointed. But as a player it is normal. When you are sacked – like a journalist is sacked – when you are sacked. It is normal," said Tardelli.
"At this moment we prefer another player because we think maybe at this time it is right. Maybe physically and psychologically."
The player Tardelli has in mind is Conor Sammon, unknown to either him or his boss a few short months ago, but now apparently a better option than Doyle.
"He is very strong physically he is very fit. Against Poland, for me – not Giovanni – he played very well and gave a lot to the team."