Tuesday June 7 2011
Trapattoni: 'Pirlo key to beating Italy'

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni admits “Italy deserved at least a draw,” but Andrea Pirlo was the tactical key.

“We always go out there to win and it's a struggle, as we demand the best out of this squad and they always give 100 per cent,” said the veteran of their 2-0 friendly victory.

“Italy are Italy. I tell Cesare Prandelli to carry on, as he has a very organised side with good football, then was unlucky.

“We won the Carling Cup for the first time in years, beat Macedonia in Euro 2012 qualifying and, although Italy deserved a draw considering their performance, we were sharp and took advantage of our situations to win.

“We missed some important players, like Robbie Keane, but wanted to make a good impression against Italy. It was a crucial test for the character of these young players.”

The deadlock was broken by a touched-on free kick for Keith Andrews, which flew in at the near post.

“The defensive wall split, but on a slippery pitch it was tough to stop Andrews' shot.”

The tactical key was constant pressure on Pirlo in that deep midfield role, something Estonia did not do on Friday.

“I am Italian and don't want their opponents to know this! I know the qualities Pirlo has and how he runs the game, so we put a great deal of focus on him. I hope other teams who will face Italy do not act the same way,” smiled Trap on RAI.

“We prepared the game looking at Italy's characteristics. It wasn't so much a trap as concentration on various elements, like their strong midfield and push down the flanks.

“Cesare has given this side an excellent style of football. They need more maturity, efficiency and determination.”

Trapattoni is a former Italy Coach and commented on some of the talents, including Antonio Cassano.

“Joking with Cassano earlier we told him to put his head on his shoulders. He said it was, but it's still not solidly on there. In order to be a champion you have to be a strong man as well as a player.

“Giuseppe Rossi is very close to Paolo Rossi in terms of that nose for goal.”