Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Trapattoni desperate for win to keep Republic's Euro dream alive

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni is taking a win-at-all-costs approach to Friday night's Euro 2012 qualifier in Andorra.



The Republic, who sit in second place in Group B, will be overwhelming favourites to see off the minnows from the Pyrenees, who are yet to win a single point in the qualifying campaign.

Indeed, Cristian Martinez's strike in a 3-1 defeat at Dublin's Aviva Stadium on September 7 last year is the only goal they have scored in the group to date.

However, Trapattoni is leaving nothing to chance as his side attempts to edge past leaders Russia as the qualifying campaign comes to a climax.

The Italian said: “The important thing is the result. It's not important how we get the result, but that we get the result.

“After 90 minutes, the ball stays and the show is over. The result stays.

“We look only for the result. We have to pay attention to every mistake, every silly mistake.”

Even victory in Andorra and a similar outcome when Armenia visit the Aviva Stadium next Tuesday evening may not be enough for the Republic to qualify automatically, with much resting on the clash between third-placed Slovakia and the Russians in Zilina on Friday.

A win for Slovakia would mean two victories would send the Republic to the finals, while a draw would leave Russia needing to beat Andorra at home in their concluding game to nudge the Republic aside by virtue of their head-to-head record.

But with Slovakia and Armenia also still mathematically in the hunt, there is little margin for error.

For that reason, Trapattoni will want his frontmen at their most potent, something which was perhaps not the case last month for the 0-0 draws at home to Slovakia and away in Russia.

The manager restored Kevin Doyle to his starting line-up — despite admitting concerns over his fitness following a knee injury — after initially naming Shane Long in the team, only to lose him to injury.

Doyle looked far from match-sharp despite his assurances and those of club boss Mick McCarthy, although having run the rule over the 28-year-old in person on Saturday when he saw Wolves lose 2-1 at home to Newcastle, Trapattoni is satisfied the player, who had a late equaliser controversially chalked off, is back in business.

He said: “One month ago, he was not strong, but he looks well. He said to me, ‘Now I am fit and well’.

“In Andorra, we can play with two strikers and we will have two strikers also on the bench. We will look to win.

“After maybe one hour, we can change it if we need the fresh energy. That is my thinking.”

Trapattoni has lost veteran full-back Kevin Kilbane to back and hamstring injuries with Kevin Foley having also withdrawn with an ankle problem.

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