IRELAND COACH Giovanni Trapattoni has admitted his team have suffered “a psychological blow” in the wake of their 4-0 defeat to Spain, but insisted they will finish Euro 2012 with heads held high.
Spain’s Fernando Torres scored twice last night as the Irish were routed in Gdansk, Poland, with Manchester City’s David Silva and Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas also finding the net.
As they had done in their opening defeat to Croatia, Ireland conceded a goal within minutes of the kick-off against Spain as the world and defending European champions attacked Ireland’s goal in torrents
“The mistakes we made here means we have suffered a bit of a psychological blow,” said the 73-year-old Italian as Ireland suffered their worst competitive defeat in 41 years since they were hammered 6-0 by Austria in 1971.
“We don’t see fear in training or in our preparations for the tournament, I don’t see tensions in the side. But this is a clear symptom of a team that, when they play in a competition, either feel inferior or feel concerned and make simple mistakes and basic errors.
“That is something we are going to have to look at moving forward. I will ask the lads why this happened. For the second time, we conceded an early goal and again it throws any tactical plan out of the window.
“It makes it hard to get back into the game without conceding more space against opponents who are very good technically. Against a team like Spain, it is very hard to get back in the game once you have conceded a goal.
“They are like an orchestra and involve all their players. The lads did everything within their power. Of course, we are disappointed.”
Ireland now face Italy in Poznan, Poland, on Monday with the Irish only playing for pride while the Italians can still qualify if they win and if results in Spain’s final match against Croatia in Gdansk go their way.
Trapattoni said his players owe it to their fans, who packed the Arena Gdnask on Thursday night and sang until the final whistle with the majority of the stadium decked in green, to give their best against Italy.
“I simply need to think about the Irish national team,” said the Italian, who insisted there will be no split loyalties. “I have to think about how disappointed we are and about the disappointment of the Irish people, who deserve a lot of respect.
“We came in with a lot of confidence and great enthusiasm, they applauded us, they cheered us, even when we were behind. I will say to the players: They must not forget this.
“We have to approach the game against Italy and it is my duty to make sure we finish with our heads held high. If Italy are to make the quarter-finals, it has to be down to the fact they played well and through their quality and attitude.
“We need to do our duty.”