Mick McCarthy has hit back at criticism over the perceived pragmatism of the Irish style of play following comments by the Swiss goalkeeper over their “very unpleasant” brand of football.
Ireland’s style of play has regularly come under fire from opposing players and fans alike over the years with it often being direct and aggressive, but effective nonetheless.
Denmark’s Thomas Delaney remarked that trying to score against Ireland was like “trying to open a can of baked beans with your bare hands” while Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer reportedly branded the Irish style as “very unpleasant.”
Under both Martin O’Neill and Giovanni Trapattoni Ireland were gritty and difficult to beat with the style sometimes, admittedly, being a little robust, however, in McCarthy’s second spell in charge, the Boys in Green have shown glimpses of being a little easier on the eye.
So what does the Irish boss think of his side being branded “very unpleasant?”
“I thought we played quiet pleasantly over the last four games to be honest,” McCarthy quipped.
“My reaction to that is, I hope they’re sat in the dressing room after the game thinking it was even more unpleasant and that they don’t want to see us in October. That’s my view on it.”
McCarthy, however, outlined that the grit and aggression that has been a staple of the Irish game over the last number of campaigns isn’t always a bad thing.
The former Ipswich boss cited the aggression of two of the Premier League’s top sides in Liverpool and Manchester City, as key parts of their successful pressing style of play, but admitted having the money to constantly improve their teams does of course help.
“I seem to think we’ve done alright over a fair period of time in terms of qualifying for competitions and I think that (aggression and grit) is part of our game.
“It’s part of the Premier League too despite the fact that there’s some wonderful football being played. The most aggressive teams in the Premier League for me are Manchester City and Liverpool.
“They’ve got the highest and most aggressive press. If you try and get through their press they’ll foul you, they’ll take you down. That’s aggressive.
“But the fact that they’ve got £500 million worth of full-backs in one team means they can play wonderful football. They are the most aggressive teams in the league.”
Regardless of the style of play McCarthy opts for on Thursday evening, they will be hoping for a positive result against Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium as they look to tighten their grip on the group’s top spot.
A win would take Ireland nine points clear of the Swiss but McCarthy is expecting Vladimir Petkovic’s side to also be aggressive admitting that he would take an “ugly 1-0” win from the game.
“I’ve watched Switzerland by the way and there’s no shortage of aggression from them and how they work and how they go and press. I guess it’s what you go and do with the ball.
“We’ve tried to play the game as it should be played but at the end of it, I’m not really worried. If we end up winning ugly 1-0 and they find it unpleasant I’ll be finding it delightful.”