New Irish manager Mick McCarthy took his first training session back in charge on Monday as the Boys in Green prepare for the start of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.
McCarthy will be looking to qualify for a European Championship finals for the first time having previously taken Ireland to the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan during his previous reign in charge.
The new boss is also tasked with lifting the spirits of the Irish fans and players alike following an abysmal 2018 for football in the country.
Nations League relegation, one win, four goals and a manager sacked, there has been plenty of negativity in the air throughout the last 12 months.
Speaking following his first training session back with the Boys in Green, McCarthy outlined that what came before him is not the priority, it is, in fact, getting positive results and getting “people smiling again.”
“It’s only yourself [the media] who is mentioning the negativity, it’s got nothing to do with it. That’s got nothing to do with me what happened before. It’s up to me to get positive results and get people smiling again.
“It’s my responsibility to change that.
“We have to get the lads at it and play as well as we possibly can. It’s got to be about us. I’ll be doing my damndest, I’m sure the lads will.
“They are all proud to be coming in here and wanting to do well. I doubt they’ll be happy about that record. I don’t know what it is, I haven’t looked back on it.”
Under O’Neill, Ireland’s style of play was also heavily criticised, with the lack of goals and general attacking endeavour a real concern for all involved with the national team.
When McCarthy was in charge the first time, Ireland played an attractive and expansive style of play for the most part, but despite the optimism that everything will change under the ex-Ipswich boss, he outlined that the limitations to his time with the players may make eye-catching football difficult to develop in such a short space of time.
“I’ve never been sacked for winning games, that’s for sure. I’ve no complaints about it at all but we’ve got the lads in here on Monday and we’re playing on Saturday.
“I wonder how long managers who are going to clubs get at pre-season to set their stall out and play a certain way, maybe a bit more attractive and a bit more expansive.”
McCarthy also outlined that getting results is his main priority as he takes over the reins for a second time, quipping that when you’re winning, “people tend to think you’re playing better football than you really are.”
“I reckon it’s my job to get results, however, they would come. If I get enough good results and we’re in the European Championships in 2020 with games in Dublin, that’s got to be my remit.”
“I’m sure we played some scruffy and scrappy games the last time I was here but honestly I never ever heard any complaints when we won a game, I generally heard the fans cheering and enjoying it and if we get to the competitions then everybody seems to be happy.”
“When you’re winning games people tend to think you’re playing better football than you really are.”