herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Trap: I want revenge

Under-fire boss admits he made mistakes in Poland and pledges to deliver redemption

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has admitted that he is haunted by Ireland's abysmal showing at Euro 2012 and has vowed to gain revenge for the nation.

After leading his side to Ireland's joint worst showing at a European Championships, there have been numerous calls for the 73-year-old's head and damning indictments of his crude 4-4-2 system, but the Italian has come out fighting.

Trap admits that he contributed to his side's Group C capitulation, but believes his team can be rejuvenated in time for crucial World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan in the autumn.

"I have made some mistakes and I do not sleep at night thinking about them," he admitted in an Italian interview.

"I desire to live, to learn, to train, to come up against the rest of the world. And I want to get revenge for Ireland after these Euros."

If Trap can perform an incredible feat of escapology and lead the boys in green from a group containing Germany, Sweden and Austria to Rio de Janeiro in two years' time, he will be in his 75th year, but his passion for the beautiful game has not waned.

ENERGY

"A philosopher has said that when a man has no interest he is dead," he added.

"I have a deep well of energy and enthusiasm, far bigger than the oil wells of Libya, Saudi Arabia and countries like that."

For Trapattoni to achieve his next goal, his squad must undergo a serious overhaul, but the Italian is also keen to suspend a mass exodus of senior stars.

"The team can be rejuvenated. There are some interesting talents starting with Darron Gibson. There is him, James McCarthy -- someone we couldn't bring because there was an unfortunate family illness," Trap said.

"There are some veterans like Robbie Keane and Damien Duff that we need to talk to, to figure out if they want to continue."

The anger and frustration of a tournament where we conceded nine and scored only once in response is beginning to dissipate and Trap believes the national side can learn some very harsh lessons from the experience.

"I remain proud of this group. We weren't right from the start against Croatia, when we seemed overcome by tension and emotion.

"Spain were too strong for us but against Italy the true spirit of Ireland re-emerged.

"We were missing a lot, especially on corners and free-kicks. We have to be more careful but the team has found itself again and its credibility.

"This is what we must repeat because this tournament has not been a complete disaster -- it will serve as a great experience for us.

"The European Championship is difficult with a match every four days, but it will serve us well for the World Cup campaign."

With just over two months to go until Ireland's long-haul trip east to Kazakhstan, the importance of blooding new players and amending systems is not lost on the experienced coach, but he played down the significance of complex formations in the international game.

"We will experiment, even if time is short. The friendly against Serbia on August 15 will tell us something," he said.

"The numbers are beautiful and the words are fascinating.

"You can play in many ways but the games are won and lost on the pitch. Don't forget that.

"There is too big a difference between league and international football.

"The team still has a long way to go. Maybe we lack a bit.

"But we have good basic technical skills and our performance against Italy will increase our confidence."

He had a message for the thousands of fans who made the trip to Eastern Europe and would love to head to the Copacabana in two years' time.

"Nothing is impossible. I believe in my players."

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