8:17pm Friday 15th June 2012
© Press Association 2014
Giovanni Trapattoni insists he deserves to lead the Republic of Ireland into the World Cup qualifying campaign despite their poor showing at Euro 2012.
The 73-year-old Italian offered a defiant defence of his reign less than 24 hours after a 4-0 drubbing by reigning champions Spain confirmed Ireland's early exit from the competition.
He said: "I think we deserve [to stay]. We have a reason because we achieved qualification after 24 years. If you read the names when we came, see how many players are still in this team and how many players are still in the others. That is our right to stay. I have more enthusiasm to stay than you and your colleagues. The Irish people can decide."
He went on: "The people yesterday at 3-0 were still applauding, our people, and we must be proud. I repeated today to the players, we must be proud of this country and for our supporters.
"I know your jobs, after 40 years, I know the job of the reporter."
Trapattoni and his players will attempt to end their all-too-brief involvement in Poland and Ukraine with victory over the manager's native Italy in Poznan on Monday night, and he will then turn his attention to the task of taking the nation to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
He will do so amid speculation that some of his senior players may decide the time has come to retire from the international stage.
Keeper Shay Given is the elder statesman in a group of thirty-somethings which also includes central defender Richard Dunne, midfielder Damien Duff and skipper Robbie Keane, although Trapattoni revealed he has had no indication yet that any of them intend to call it a day.
He said: "At this moment, nobody has to me that they wish to retire. Maybe, but I don't know. I know our captain is proud.
"I don't know, but I think not. We can decide. At this moment, we have a squad which is good enough to continue in this new campaign."
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