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Brian Kerr Says Stephen Kenny 'Misread Situation' When He Got Ireland Job

Brian Kerr Says Stephen Kenny 'Misread Situation' When He Got Ireland Job
By PJ Browne Updated

Brian Kerr believes Stephen Kenny did not fully grasp how difficult international football can be when first took over as Ireland manager. Kerr also believes it is now time for Ireland to change formation.

"There was a lot of almost indoctrination talk about how we'd changed the style, and how we could dominate the game in all the areas of the pitch," Kerr told Virgin Media following Ireland's 1-0 Nations League defeat to Ukraine on Wednesday.

"I think Stephen misread the situation when he came into the job as to how difficult international football really is.

"Every manager who has managed Ireland would have wanted to play an open, expansive game, and would want Ireland to be on top, playing on the front foot, dominating possession, playing free-flowing football.

"Most have them have realised that the opposition will want to stop you playing that way, and impose their game on you. You have to adapt to that. You've got to adapt to the quality that they have. In some cases, if you don't think they have too much quality, you adapt your game to take them on, and try to beat them.

8 June 2022; Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny looks on during the UEFA Nations League B group 1 match between Republic of Ireland and Ukraine at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

"What we have seen with Ireland is this system has come in after we lost 3-0 to England, and then we had another game just against that. Then we had the change of system for the Serbian game, the first match of World Cup qualifying. We went from the 4-2-3-1 system to a 3-4-3, and they've stuck with that system. Now there has the be a question mark.

"I don't like the three centre-backs system. It's in fashion at the moment, and it looked like it suited us for a while. It hasn't suited us. Three centre-backs on the ball aren't the most comfortable on the ball. Some of them play that way with their club, some of them don't.

"We're getting outplayed through the middle of the pitch. We've always need three players in the middle of the pitch in the modern game. We used to get it when we played 4-4-2 by one of the front men dropping back in midfield. As the game evolved, we went to three players in the middle. We need to go back to that."

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEWxX01mBxs

Regarding Wednesday's performance against Ukraine, Kerr said:

"Stephen Kenny can't come out after this match, and say 'We didn't deserve to lose that match, in fact, we should have won that match'. Which he has said after almost every defeat since he's been manager.

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"Most of those games, he was absolutely wrong. They were beaten fair and square in those games. Tonight, they were outplayed by Ukraine's second team in many ways.

"Around the midfield, we were undermanned, and poor on the ball, lost possession too frequently. The front three, despite the efforts of Ogbene and Knight, they looked lightweight at times. It seemed quite easy for the Ukrainian team.

"They had a look at us for about 20 minutes, like Armenia, and then just took over the game. They got a fortunate goal early in the second half. They were unlucky to have a goal scraped off in the first half. Overall, they were the better team in the match.

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"The Irish players, the midfield area, looked like they'd had a hard match at the weekend. They looked a bit tired and bedraggled. They worked hard, Jeff Hendrick made a real effort trying to get into the box. Nothing came of our efforts. Our most threatening player was once again Shane Duffy, our centre-half. He had the most attempts on goal. The front three didn't play well enough.

"The truth of it is Ogbene is finding his way in English [football]. Division 3 level, he did quite well. He's going up to the Championship.

"Robinson doesn't get his game for West Brom. He looks lightweight against strong, grizzled defenders. He had a little run of goals for us against poor opposition.

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"Parrott was tried at the weekend, again a lad trying to find his way in international football. We're lacking all over the pitch in quality. There wasn't enough quality on the ball in any area of the pitch tonight."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny6MDlaf1KI

See Also: Ireland Player Ratings As Kenny's Side Suffer Another Nations League Defeat Against Ukraine

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