Giovanni Trapattoni has revealed his agony over the decision to leave Kevin Foley out of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 squad.
The 27-year-old Wolves full-back, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, was today told he had not made the final 23 despite being named in the original party as Trapattoni instead chose Paul McShane to provide more cover in central defence.
Trapattoni said: "We thought very hard about what was the best and most appropriate decision."
The Irish manager continued: "We based our decision on the fact the centre-halves - [Richard] Dunne, [John] O'Shea and [Darren] O'Dea - all have problems. We are not sure if they will be 100%.
"McShane did a careful medical check and we decided to include him in the 23.
"The reason behind this is we need one more central defender and we know they are more subject to bookings. I communicated my decision to Kevin. Obviously, he was clearly upset. Also me."
Asked how difficult a decision it had been, Trapattoni added: "Very difficult because we hold him in a high regard.
"But we had this problem until this morning. Richard Dunne has a muscular problem... and normally defenders are subject to bookings.
"For me and for [assistant] Marco [Tardelli], it was very difficult, but we had to decide on one defender more.
"I said to him [Foley], 'We are happy if you decide to stay with us'. He said, 'Okay, I will think about it'. Obviously he is a little bit sad. That's normal."
Trapattoni admitted he had faced similar decisions in the past, and in particular when he decided to leave Roberto Baggio out of his Italy squad for the 2002 World Cup finals.
He said: "Also with Italy, we went to Korea we had this situation. Baggio I considered for three months.
"He was injured three months before and had surgery on his cruciate ligament. He was in Bologna working with the physios and I said to him he needed to play a minimum of one game before the 31 March deadline.
"He played 20 minutes of the last game in the league. I had a heavy heart, but I couldn't put him in the squad."
Trapattoni's comments came after he had watched his side, in which Foley played as a second-half substitute, defeat a Tuscan Select XI 5-0 at the Stadio Melani in Pistoia.
Skipper Robbie Keane struck twice either side of Simon Cox's 29th-minute goal, and substitutes Shane Long and Jon Walters also registered after the break, the latter after Foley's free-kick had been parried.
Perhaps more importantly, Trapattoni's players emerged unscathed on a night when Shay Given, O'Shea and Darren O'Dea were absent, along with the rested Damien Duff and Glenn Whelan.
Paul McShane admitted that he was experiencing mixed feelings after he was dramatically named in the squad.
He explained: "I wouldn't say I was thrilled because I know Kev and he's a good friend of mine. I've not been jumping around the place celebrating. I just tried to keep things on an even keel.
"I am happy obviously to be in the 23 and I didn't expect to be in it. I am happy deep down, but I do feel for Kevin.
"The minute I was told I was in I thought of Kev straight away because it is disappointing. His family had planned to come over. Football is a cruel sport sometimes."