Republic of Ireland international Katie McCabe says she regrets a World Cup social media post regarding a disagreement with Vera Pauw, but insists that player power played no part in the manager's departure.
McCabe urging Pauw to make changes in the later stages of the match; Pauw refused, and said in her post-match press conference: "If Katie McCabe wants a change, it doesn't mean… she's not the coach."
McCabe subsequently posted a zipped-mouth emoji on her social media.
Speaking ahead of the historic Nations League clash with Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, the Arsenal star admits a certain regret.
"It was a bit tongue in cheek at the time. On reflection, I could have maybe handled it a little better."
Following an FAI review into World Cup qualification and the tournament itself, it was decided not to offer 60-year-old Pauw a contract extension.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport after her departure from the Irish hotseat, Pauw claimed some of her staff turned on her in the final weeks of her tenure, but insisted there was no bad blood between the pair.
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"We've spoken for over an hour with each other," said Pauw. "We are absolutely fine with each other."
McCabe confirmed that she had a number of conversations with the Dutch woman, and rejected the notion that it was the players who exerted a string influence in the decision not to offer Pauw a new deal despite significant progress on the pitch.
"It’s been tough," she said when asked about how it has been since the World Cup exit.
"I feel like there have been a few unfair headlines. This thing of 'Katie v Vera’ is not a thing. We have spoken and she has wished us well. I will always be grateful for what Vera has given to Irish football.
"We created history together. I wish her well in whatever is next for her.
"That was never a decision for the players to make. The FAI did a review a spoke to everybody, and felt they wanted to go in a different direction. From a football point of view, we need to respect that decision.
"We don’t make those decisions as players, as much as the player power narrative has been thrown around. That’s not the case. We understand how the public can interpret that.
"We’re in a mindset now where we need to move on and give this closure, with full focus for the Nations League."
The Irish skipper also dealt with queries as to whether she felt that Pauw implemented an overly defensive outlook to the team, that made them difficult to break down, yet at the same time, failed to allow the more creative forces in the team, McCabe included, the opportunity to shine.
"We have to respect the manager and coaching staff’s approach to a game. Of course we want to get up in the opposition’s half of the pitch a bit more. I don’t know the tactics yet for this week with Eileen (Gleeson) coming in.
"I’m an attacking player, all I want to do is attack. When you are player at that level however, we need to know how to defend, and I think we did that really well (under Pauw)."
The 27-year-old linked up with the squad today having sat out Arsenal's in-house friendly yesterday. Since the World Cup, the left-sided player has featured in both of Arsenal's Champions League qualifiers – the Gunners bowed out to Paris FC on penalties – and is itching for the season to fully get back up and running.
Their WSL opener with Liverpool has sold more than 40,000 tickets, and McCabe also has a pep in her step for a new beginning on the international front.
Eileen Gleeson has recalled Tyler Toland, Savannah McCarthy, Hayley Nolan, Éabha O'Mahony, Saoirse Noonan and Emily Whelan to the fold for their Nations League opener with Northern Ireland, followed by a trip to Budapest to take on Hungary on Tuesday.
"It’s exciting," she said. "There are new players that have come in, a new coaching staff. It’s a fresh start and we’re ready to go.
"We have sold over 30,000 tickets for a game at the Aviva Stadium for the first time ever off the back of the World Cup, and I can tell you now, the girls can’t wait to get going and walk out in front of our fans in our national stadium.
"It will be amazing."
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Watch Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland in the UEFA Nations League on Saturday from 12.30pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, follow a live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on RTÉ 2fm