After the Finland defeat, the former Ireland manager has been talking about Stephen Kenny’s tenure.
If Stephen Kenny is looking for comfort after the Finland defeat, when Mick McCarthy was appointed to replace Jack Charlton as Ireland manager, he would win only one of his first six matches in charge and that was against Lichtenstein.
On the contrary, Steve Staunton won his opening match 3-0 against Sweden.
We know how both of those managerial reigns fared.
However, after the 1-0 defeat in Helsinki, Stephen Kenny is still searching for his first win as Ireland manager. At present, Kenny’s record reads played 5, won 0, drew 2, lost 3, scored 1.
Crucially, one of those defeats was the Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia and while there have definitely been signs of progress since the former Dundalk manager took charge – Ireland look far more comfortable on the ball and are creating more chances – but they’re still losing games.
As Roy Keane and almost every football fan has highlighted, Ireland have a major problem scoring goals. At present, it has been 390 minutes since Ireland last scored a goal.
Speaking on Virgin Media after the game, Tommy Martin asked former Ireland manager Brian Kerr about the negativity from some people about Kenny’s start at the helm of the boys in green.
“Well, I haven’t hard much negativity around the place in relation to the games so far. I think everyone recognises the difficulties that football managers have in general – not just the Ireland manager but all managers – in trying to get their best team on the pitch in the best condition they can get them. I don’t think it’s revolutionary how we’re trying to play, we’re trying to play good football again that’s easy on the eye.
“People are accepting that they want to see that, but it’s also about getting the balance right of winning football matches. Ultimately, football managers are measured by results and the winning or losing of games. The reality of it is, the decision was made to fast-track Stephen into this job because the FAI felt there was a better chance of us getting to the finals by putting Stephen in, than by staying with Mick. That hasn’t worked out because we lost to Slovakia, unfortunately,” said Kerr.
The former Ireland manager then said that the defeat to Finland means that Ireland’s hopes of success in the Nations League are now effectively done, so Kenny should now be thinking about the World Cup qualification campaign.
“That was one angle of it, their biggest concern was that we needed to get there because of the financial aspect and getting people to the matches. That didn’t happen. We’re now in another competition that we’re very unlikely to be in the latter rounds of. So, Stephen is basically building for the World Cup qualifiers, as I see it.
“On the evidence of the matches, the number of players that have played in the games have been a good thing for him. While it hasn’t led to a settled team in the way that Finland has been, it’s almost been like a trial for so many players. I’d say the number of players that have featured is in the high twenties in these five matches. That’s a good thing because we’ve seen that there’s a lot of potential,” added Kerr.
Later in the conversation, Tommy Martin asked the former manager of the Faroe Islands if results are less important than the team’s overall development?
“I would have very much been in the mindset that we needed to beat Slovakia by hook or by crook because I wanted to see us playing matches in the finals in Dublin. But, I am all for and have always been for, the development of Irish football in the most attractive and positive way possible, and I think they’re going about it in the best way possible in the circumstances at the moment.”
At present, Ireland’s next games will be in the Nations League when they face Wales and Bulgaria on November 15 and 18 respectively.
Here’s hoping that Kenny can pick up his first win in those two fixtures.