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Stephen Kenny disputes Tony Cascarino’s accusation of “tactical ignorance”

Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny has addressed Tony Cascarino’s recent accusation that the Republic of Ireland manager has been “tactically ignorant” in recent matches.

After Saturday night’s embarrassing defeat to Luxembourg, Stephen Kenny came in for considerable criticism but the 49-year-old remains confident in his position as Ireland boss.

Writing in his Times column, former Ireland centre-forward Tony Cascarino branded Kenny “tactically ignorant” for recently playing three at the back.

Cascarino insisted that Ireland simply don’t have players who are technically gifted enough to play the way that Kenny wants and also suggested that the FAI is only standing by Kenny because they cannot afford to sack him.

Kenny responded to Cascarino’s claims in the press conference ahead of Tuesday night’s friendly with Qatar.

“He’s certainly entitled to his opinion, he was a great striker for Ireland,” Kenny said of Cascarino.

Tony Cascarino

“They’re strong words. People have to write articles. Tactically ignorant, I don’t think that would be the case. I wouldn’t agree with that.

“There is an element of criticism there that is justified, that we need to be more creative in that final third and have better combination play between our attacking players and our wing-backs and I accept some of that criticism.”

Kenny has received the backing of his players despite failing to win any of his first 10 games in charge of the national team.

Stephen Kenny

The former Dundalk and Derry City boss is optimistic of turning Ireland’s fortunes around and pointed to Michael O’Neill’s early struggles with Northern Ireland as evidence that managers cannot be judged by their first games in charge.

Kenny explained: “Michael’s Northern Ireland had a long unsuccessful run, and lost to Luxembourg as well, in 2013, and that was a turning point as well.

“We want to be much better. We hit a low the other night, and we’ve got to take that on the chin, but I want to build a team that really exhilarates Irish football people.

“Some of our play against Slovakia and Serbia has been nothing short of brilliant and we’ll continue to build on that and get better again.”

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