Trap - We can top group

Republic coach sets sights high

Last Updated: 28/03/11 10:23am

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Trapattoni: Hoping for strong finish

Trapattoni: Hoping for strong finish

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Giovanni Trapattoni is confident the Republic of Ireland can finish top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group, providing they avoid injuries.

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"It is always better to be able to put on the pitch the best players you have, and if we can do that, I am very, very confident we can finish first."
Giovanni Trapattoni Quotes of the week

The Republic drew level on points with Russia and Slovakia at the helm of Group B after securing a 2-1 win over Macedonia at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night.

The result put Trapattoni's side back on course for automatic qualification for next year's tournament after defeat to Russia in October dented their ambitions.

However, they will head to Macedonia in June for the reverse fixture without suspended defender Richard Dunne after he collected his second booking of the campaign, and Trapattoni is keeping his fingers crossed over injured trio Shay Given, John O'Shea and Kevin Doyle.

Trapattoni said: "We do not have many problems because we have a great squad - for example, last night four new players played and played very well.

"Our problem is injuries. I am not afraid about playing any game, I am afraid only about injuries even though we have good options.

"It is always better to be able to put on the pitch the best players you have, and if we can do that, I am very, very confident we can finish first."

Frustration

Trapattoni admits he struggled to contain his frustration with the officials at times during Saturday's tense clash, where the Republic fought hard to weather a strong Macedonia fightback.

And the 72-year-old Italian made his feelings abundantly clear to one of the assistant referees as he tried to replace the injured Kevin Doyle with substitute Shane Long.

He said: "I'm a coach, I usually have respect for the referee. I know referees can make mistakes like players, but at the time, I was angry.

"I am angry sometimes, but I defend referees because it is not easy to referee."

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