Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

French test is the hardest possible task says Moran

Kevin Moran believes that landing France was the worst play-off outcome available to Ireland, but Packie Bonner does not necessarily agree.

The Irish legends were in the company of Liam Brady at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel when word filtered through from Zurich and, despite contrasting assessments on the merits of drawing France, they both believe the spirit in Giovanni Trapattoni's dressing room could be significant when contrasted with the disharmony in Raymond Domenech's camp.

“If you looked at it on paper, and looked at the teams, it's the worst draw you could get, full stop”, said Moran, speaking at Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel at a press call staged by ESPN to mark their arrival in the Irish market, “But it's not played on paper.

“It's a really tough one, if you look at the quality they have in their team, we just don't compare. But we have always achieved better when we are the underdog. The more underdog we are, the better.”

FAI Technical Director Bonner wasn't too aggrieved to hear that the French stood in the way after a recent discussion with Gerard Houllier.

“I'm sure Giovanni, Liam and the players would have loved to get Greece, but I've always felt that France might be one we could raise our game for,” he said. “France are vulnerable I think.

“I met Gerard Houllier recently at a conference and he felt that maybe the public aren't all that enamoured with the manager at the moment. They are a good team, of course, but if we get a decent result at home, who knows, they'll be under pressure in their place.

Both Moran and Bonner feel that the bad vibes emanating from the French side are something that Ireland can seize upon.

And Moran is surprised that Domenech is still in a job and hopes that his difficulties in keeping his star players happy is exposed in this two legged tie.