‘We are within a win of qualifying and I just don’t get the sense of anticipation or excitement – and there should be’: Mick McCarthy in prickly mood with Ireland on the brink of Euro 2020
- A win for Ireland in Switzerland will guarantee qualification for Euro 2020
- Ireland boss Mick McCarthy was in a prickly mood ahead of Tuesday’s game
- The Irishman was upset with the reaction to Saturday’s goalless draw in Georgia
- McCarthy looks set to start Brighton’s 19-year-old striker Aaron Connolly
Be it angst, anger or excitement, Mick McCarthy was in a prickly mood ahead of a game here in Switzerland that could send Ireland direct to Euro 2020.
The subject of Aaron Connolly and whether he will start the Brighton teenager caused McCarthy to bristle, even though he hinted that will be the case.
The boss, it would appear, is also upset about the reaction to Saturday’s goalless draw in Georgia.
Ireland boss Mick McCarthy was in a prickly mood ahead of Tuesday’s game in Switzerland
That point means Ireland need to win either here in Geneva or at home to Denmark next month and they will qualify automatically.
And McCarthy said: ‘That point has put us in a good position. I just keep getting messages from people saying, “F the begrudgers”, and I keep thinking, “What’s going on?”.
‘We are within a win of qualifying and I just don’t get the sense of anticipation or excitement – and there should be.
‘I’ve been asked if it is a cup final. No, but I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the prospect of winning.’
It is two years since Ireland won away against a higher-ranked team and, after the toil of Georgia, McCarthy looks set to start Connolly, who made his debut as a late substitute in Tbilisi.
A win for Ireland in Switzerland will guarantee qualification for Euro 2020 next summer
‘Asking me would I risk him, there’s some suggestion that there is – I don’t think there is a risk,’ said McCarthy.
‘He’s had a cameo and did well in it and I think he will be feeling comfortable about himself.’
So he is starting?
‘If you can deduce that from my tone of voice, well fair play to you,’ said McCarthy. ‘I might just drop him to spite you now…’
McCarthy will be hoping that the mischievous grin he wore on his face will be replaced by a winning one on Tuesday evening – do that and he will deservedly get the credit he craves.
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