football

Republic of Ireland will improve, insists Stephen Kenny after dismal start to World Cup qualifying campaign


Stephen Kenny is adamant he can do “a very good job” as Republic of Ireland coach despite his team’s catastrophic start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

Kenny’s 10-match spell fell to new depths on Saturday evening when Ireland slipped to a 1-0 qualifier loss at home to Luxembourg on an evening when a first win under the former under-21s manager was the only option.

He later insisted he was not concerned about his position despite mounting criticism and when asked why, he replied: “It’s not something I’m focusing on. From my point of view, I can’t affect that. It’s not something I’m focusing on at all.

“We all have setbacks at various times and I have absolute conviction that I’m capable of doing a very good job here, but on this evidence that doesn’t back it up, I do realise that.

“We have to do a hell of a lot better than that.”

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Kenny’s planned elevation to the senior job as Mick McCarthy stepped aside did not meet with universal approval, and the hugely successful League of Ireland boss is facing an uphill battle to win over his detractors.

The Republic will not be at this summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020 finals after a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat in Slovakia, and their chances of making it to the next year’s World Cup finals have been drastically reduced after back-to-back defeats by Serbia and Luxembourg.



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