Trap: let's get serious
"LET'S get serious. This is a serious game." With those words, Giovanni Trapattoni set the tone for the next seven days which could make or break the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 qualification attempt.
Trapattoni gathered his players together and quickly began the process of sifting through the details for a way to beat the Russians at Lansdowne Road on Friday night.
"I saw them when they arrived and we spoke of how important these games are," he said. "We are happy that after the first two games, against Armenia and Andorra, we have six points.
"We have to start with the same attitude as before and we are looking to win this game. I believe we can win. It is important that we keep Russia behind us in the table."
Trapattoni has set himself a points total for the next two games and he is not being greedy.
"For these two games, it would be excellent if we achieved four points -- three plus one. It's important that we stay top of the table after these two games. It's important not to lose, to score a goal, not to concede a yellow. These details are the ones I usually say to the players," he said.
Trapattoni has resisted the temptation to tap into the knowledge base built up by men like Lucaiano Spalletti, the current Zenit boss.
"I never ask a manager in England about this game or any game. I never ask in Russia either. If I ask them, all the Russians will know the situation straight away," he said with a laugh.
"I don't want to put them in a difficult situation. I never asked about McGeady. Spalletti a spy? I cannot do that."
Trapattoni's options shrank considerably yesterday when he had to send Damien Duff and Keith Andrews back to their clubs, both men joining Stephen Kelly and Keith Treacy on the injury list.
Treacy's absence seemed less straightforward, with Trapattoni keen to load the blame onto Preston. He was also less than happy with the attitude of Roy Keane and Ipswich over Darren O'Dea. Marc Wilson has been added to the squad.
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