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Richard Dunne Was Baffled By Stephen Kenny's Formation To Play Gibraltar

Richard Dunne Was Baffled By Stephen Kenny's Formation To Play Gibraltar
By Donny Mahoney Updated
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After a nervy, underwhelming start, Ireland beat Gibraltar 3-0 at the Aviva Stadium on Monday night.

The hangover from the Greece defeat was evident throughout the first 45 minutes, though perhaps Ireland weren't helped by the fact three centrebacks were deployed against a woefully limited international side with ambitions of 90 minutes of defending.

Stephen Kenny has been a big fan of the 3-5-2 formation throughout his time managing Ireland. Gus Poyet's Greece had a clear plan to disrupt it and that they did.


Mikey Johnston relieved Adam Idah at halftime in Athens as Kenny shook things up; interestingly Johnston against was named to the bench on Monday. His introduction at halftime for Nathan Collins brought some much-needed energy to Ireland's attack with the score 0-0 after 45 minutes.  It was also perhaps a tacit admission from the gaffer that 3-5-2 was unnecessarily cautious at the prospect of facing the world's 201st best side at home.

Richard Dunne: 'why did the manager start with three at the back'?

In his post-match analysis on Virgin Media Sport, Richard Dunne was quite critical of Kenny for his first half formation.

I think the, the main thing that comes out of that game is the question 'Why did the manager start with three at the back?'

He's played that system against sides of similar sort of levels before, and it hasn't worked.

We've struggled to break teams down and then you see in the second half when he changes and he brings center back off and we get full backs and wingers onto the pitch, we open them up.

We get so many, much more chances, we're much quicker in moving the ball. And the only thing that I can take in the game is how does he not know to start like that? How does the staff not know to start the game like that?

Rather than waiting 45 minutes to clogging up  the attacking area in the first half and the half drive up the field and all that stuff.

He should know when we've played Armenia, Luxembourg when we played other teams where we have the majority of the ball, we don't open them up because we're too slow in what we do. And generally that's because we have wing backs stood out wide waiting for the ball. And when they get it, it's predictable.

It's slow. Everything's too slow. In the second half today, we have players doing overlaps, we have movement, we have runners, we have different players and different positions and it's, it was so, contra the first half and the second half that the manager should know by now 3.5 years or wherever it may be down the line That that's the way we play.

A good result, but he's still not sure of how to play these games.


There's not much analysis that can given for a game against a side like Gibraltar, but Dunne does raise an interesting point here. Kenny's tactics have been under the microscope since Friday. While a victory was all but inevitable, the journey to that 3-0 win does raise more interesting questions around Kenny's rigid approach as tactician.

Kenny has shown he'll change things when they're not working, but should he be anticipating the problem before unfolds?

SEE ALSO: James McClean's Post-Match Remarks After 100th Cap Show His Evolution As A Leader



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