Giovanni Trapattoni lived up to the fans chant after his Ireland team beat Italy 2-0 in an international soccer friendly in Liege on Tuesday night – he used to be Italian but he’s Irish now.
Trapattoni said he experienced absolutely no mixed feelings whatsoever after his adopted country shocked his homeland with victory in this ‘made for TV’ game in Belgium.
Once the Italian manager, Trapattoni is now as committed to the Irish cause now as the song - sung with gusto by the 300 or so Ireland fans after this win - suggests.
Stephen Hunt set up both goals – one for Keith Andrews in the first-half and the second for substitute Simon Cox in the second – as an unfamiliar Ireland side scored only our second win over the Italians and our first since the 1994 World Cup finals clash in New Jersey.
“I knew this question was going to come up. For those who know me, they know I want to win all the time, even if I am playing darts so this win for Ireland means everything to me,” said Trapattoni.
“We have been very unlucky in the past against Italy, but that doesn’t mean I came into this game with a sense of revenge against my own country.”
The Irish manager added: “We won this match because of our attitude, because of our mentality, because of the way in which we played.
“The lads have finally understood that in order to achieve a result this is the way to play, with this mentality and with this attitude on the pitch.
“As I always say to you, if I want to see a show, I will go to the theatre. But football is about getting results.”
Goalscorer Cox, now with two goals in four international appearances, revealed how determined Trapattoni was to taste victory against his native land and their manager Cesare Prandelli who played under Trap at Juventus.
“I think it meant a lot to the manager tonight, so whoever was going to come in was going to put in a terrific grafting performance for him and for their own personal performances anyway,” said Cox.
“You could just see it in his eyes and the way he did his pre-match talk and everything, you could see how much the fire was burning inside him and that he wanted to put in a good performance.”
Italian coach Prandelli was far from happy as he digested an unexpected defeat.
“This game was a serious step back. We made mistakes because the team couldn’t understand the method of play,” said Prandelli.
“But it’s better to lose in an international friendly than in a qualifier. If we have to lose, it’s better to lose to Trap.”
Trapattoni and Prandelli joke during friendly