Giovanni Trapattoni picked up awards galore on a flying visit to Dublin – then repeated his claim that Ireland can advance from their European Championship group next June.
Irish sport’s ‘Manager of the Year’ at two separate awards ceremonies in the last few days, Trapattoni believes his team can emerge from a group featuring world champions Spain, Italy and Croatia.
“I am confident,” said Trapattoni at a briefing for daily journalist. “On the pitch, there is only one ball.
“We don’t have many creative players, but we have the right players, football players, with the right attitude. I have a strong belief about what we can achieve.”
“Ireland can get over the first stage, providing all of our key players stay fit and the team shows good discipline when our opponents invariably own the ball for long periods of time.
“The players understand our mentality now. They accept our philosophy and our mentality,” he continued. “I don’t know if we deserve these awards we are winning, but what’s important is what we did with the players.
“And I think they can find more. Respect is very important. Sure, the lads who will be called up in February will have to spend some time with us, absorb our mentality, our way of working, our system. But that will be for future development. The new aim will be the World Cup.”
Trapattoni was impressed with James McCarthy’s performance in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday but has warned the Scottish born midfielder to up his game if he’s to make the squad for the Euros.
“James did well and I sent him a message saying ‘bravo’,” said Trapattoni. “He answer me also. He can grow very well. But, he is still a little shy. He can play many good balls. But he can call for the ball too. Sometimes, he is free. If he is more vocal, he can improve 30pc more.
“When I was a young player, I played immediately. In the past, James didn’t play. But now he’s started playing again and that’s very, very important because he has a good quality.”