Republic need belief for Euro fightback
Giovanni Trapattoni is urging his players to look to their previous record and "believe again", as the Republic of Ireland try to revive their Euro 2012 campaign in the wake of their defeat at the hands of Croatia.
Monday, 11 June 2012
The Republic boss admitted his side was outplayed in the first half of Sunday night's game in Poznan, but thought the second half was better.
"It's important we recover psychologically and believe again, because we have to remember how many games we had played without conceding a goal," Trapattoni said, after the 3-1 disappointment.
Changes to the team-sheet could be the way forward, as the Irish side now prepare to take on Spain in Gdansk on Thursday evening.
"We have to think very, very much," Trap said, having fielded his strongest available team against Croatia.
"If I decide to change, it will not be because a player played badly or does not deserve to play. We have another game. Our opponent only drew (Spain 1 - 1 Italy) and has only one point."
Spain will, however, prove a tough test for the Irish - they currently top the FIFA world rankings, while the Republic sit in 18th place.
I respect the Irish team. The Irish team didn't lose for the last 14 matches - they were in a group with Russia, they drew 0-0 in Moscow ... We played very well and we beat a strong team.
Slaven Bilic, Croatia manager
The Republic need at least a point from Thursday's game to have at chance at progression beyond the group stages of the tournament.
"It is obviously going to be tough, but that's football," defender Sean St Ledger, who scored his side's only goal against Croatia, said.
"You're not going to go through tournaments unbeaten - you will lose some. Croatia are in the top ten for a reason.
"There's no better game to come next than Spain. Obviously we'll relish the challenge of the world champions, so why not go and get a result?"
The Republic had previously enjoyed a run of 14 games unbeaten, but the side were undone by goals from Croatia's Mario Mandzukic - including a header that went in off goalie Shay Given - and Nikica Jelavic.
Meanwhile Richard Dunne did not train with his his team-mates in Gdynia on Monday afternoon.
Dunne was limping as he left Poznan's Municipal Stadium after the game.
Trapattoni will hope he recovers in time for Thursday night's crucial encounter with holders Spain in Gdansk. The game kicks off at 7.45pm.