herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Trap maps out 'sacrificial' role for frontmen

GIOVANNI Trapattoni will press Robbie Keane to take a greater part in manning the barricades in midfield when Ireland meet Croatia in Poznan on Sunday.

After a hugely positive arrival at Ireland's training base in Gdynia yesterday, when thousands of locals turned up to watch an open training session, Trapattoni made a big effort to clarify the comments which caused much confusion in the immediate aftermath of the 0-0 draw with Hungary in Budapest.

And the upshot of that seemed to suggest that both his captain Keane and Kevin Doyle were the main targets for his request for 'sacrifice'.

While denying that he was disappointed with the way his players carried out their instructions in Budapest, he is clearly still unhappy although perhaps less agitated.

"In the morning, I review and I saw the game differently. Sure, we moved a little bit slowly but the movement was not so bad, not so bad at all," he said.

"But there is still this situation when we meet a team with one striker and we need another attitude to cope with that. I want them to take responsibility," he said.

Asked whether Keane could play the Totti role which served Italy well, Trap agreed.

"I asked him to play in this position. Two years ago I said this. Robbie can play in this position.

"I said this three days ago that I know this problem with our line-up when we play teams like this. I asked for this sacrifice.

"I have not changed my opinion. I must see 100 per cent commitment to this way," he added.

Trapattoni seemed surprised when told about Aiden McGeady's suggestion that the players had been over-trained in Montecatini and blamed the sluggish performance against Hungary on the circumstances surrounding the game.



PSYCHOLOGICAL

"They are not tired. If anything, this was psychological. Sometimes they speak, but they don't think.

"We had a storm and the players had to stay for 20 minutes in dressing room. They didn't know whether they would be playing or not."

Trap was bowled over by the welcome he found waiting in Poland.

"Poland has been very kind to us and welcomed us very well," he said. "I was in this city many times with Juve but I was not expecting the size of the crowd.

"Maybe 1,000 or 2,000 but not so many. It is fantastic and it makes me think we need to pay them for this kindness."

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