Associates of Giovanni Trapattoni were fully expecting that the Italian would be relieved from his duties as Republic of Ireland manager, according to Irish Times’ Rome correspondent Paddy Agnew.
Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny on RTÉ Radio this morning, Agnew stated that the Trapattoni camp felt that the Ireland boss would be sacked and that they are now seeking clarification of what are the terms of the FAI’s support for his continuing in the job.
Agnew said that people close to Trapattoni were surprised when contacted on Wednesday night to hear the FAI had confirmed he would continue in the role.
“The reaction (within the Trapattoni camp) was a certain amount of surprise because, speaking to the camp (Wednesday) afternoon, they were convinced it was only a matter of time before he was sacked,” Agnew told Pat Kenny.
“The business of him not doing his post-match briefing in Dublin and being told to just go back to Milan was, for them, indication that the writing was on the wall, so they were surprised when I contacted them and said the FAI had confirmed Trapattoni (was to remain in charge).”
"He does have a sister who is sick in Milan, but she has been ill for some while" - Paddy Agnew
Agnew explained: “He does have a sister who is sick in Milan, but she has been ill for some while. As far as the Trapattoni camp were concerned they were instructed that the press conference was not being held and he should go on home to Italy.
“The situation with them now is that Trapattoni is now in contact with the FAI and wants to hear exactly what the terms of that confirmation are.
“If you look at the statement the FAI issued last night they talk about continuing to work closely with the manager. Does that mean anything in particular? Are all of Trapattoni’s back-room staff being reconfirmed as well?”
“It (the statement) does not look like a big endorsement. It looks like the classic ‘the club has every confidence in the coach’ and the coach is sacked the following day.”
When it was put to Agnew by Pat Kenny that the FAI might be putting conditions to Trapattoni that he would find impossible to fulfil, such as being at matches in England every weekend and attending matches in the Airtricity League, Agnew was certain what Trapattoni’s response would be.
“For the time being we don’t know what the new terms are, if there are new terms. But if those sort of terms were outlined or suggested to Trapattoni he would absolutely walk away,” said Agnew.
“I have spoken to him before about the criticisms that he does not follow players enough and he does not go to enough games in England and he absolutely rejects that criticism. He says Marco Tardelli goes to hundreds of games every year and Trapattoni trusts Tardelli’s opinion.
“’I’m fully informed about all the Irish players’, is the way he would put it. As for the League of Ireland, I don’t think he would see that as a serious prospect at all.
“He claims that once Tardelli has highlighted a player to him that he eventually gets to look at that player at some point, even if it’s only on DVD.
“He says that there are not that many extraordinary new Roy Keanes popping up every day of the week in English football for him to go and have a look at.”