not acceptable | 

Liam Brady questions Stephen Kenny’s verdict on Ireland’s chaotic win against Armenia

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny (Sportsfile)© SPORTSFILE

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny suggested his side’s performance against Armenia was “exceptional”, even after they surrendered a 2-0 lead against minnows ranked at 92 in the FIFA rankings.

Kenny’s side looked to be cruising to just their second win of the Group 1 campaign as they entered the final 20 minutes leading 2-0 through goals from John Egan and Michael Obafemi, but Armenia stormed back to draw level and were pushing for a dramatic win.

Robbie Brady’s last-gasp penalty won the game for Ireland, but Liam Brady was among the former players questioning this assessment of the game from Kenny.

"Overall the players did well, apart from that ridiculous ten-minute spell," said Kenny said. “We were outstanding for periods of the game.

"I know that we played really well in the game, I was very pleased with how we'd played but we absolutely shot ourselves in the foot for a five minute period, two goals in two minutes, it was careless.

"We could have been 4-0 up at that stage, our centre backs were overlapping, everyone was committing to attack and we obviously got caught on the break, we were winning 2-0 and made a mistake and got punished.

"I don't see the players now for two months and that's the difference with international football, they know and we know that we were so much in the ascendancy that we went for the third, fourth, fifth goal, which is fine, but we shouldn't lose the structure of our back three in the way that we did and the protection around that.

"Overall there were loads of good things in the performance, a five-minute moment of madness but we won the game, a pressure game for the players and it was important to win it, which we did. We have a very young team, it was an exceptional performance at times.

"We made mistakes. At 2-0 up, we can go for the third and fourth without losing our structure.

"The fact that we came back and won 3-2 was important and we were much the better team, we could have won but a few goals, but there’s lessons there for us.

"We were so much in the ascendancy that we went for the third, fourth, fifth goal which is fine, but we shouldn’t lose the structure of our back three in the way we did and the protection around that.

"Overall I though there were loads of good things from the performance but a five minute moment of madness.

"We won the game, it was a pressure game for the pressure so it was important to win it and we won it."

Ireland legend Liam Brady was quick to question Kenny’s version of the match, as he suggested the excuses from the Ireland boss are starting to become tiresome.

"He’s always trying to defend himself and his team, that’s only natural,” Brady told RTE. “He said the performance was exceptional? Comfortable, in control, but exceptional means you are creating chances, the goalkeeper is having to make saves and you are scoring goals.

"At 2-0, the second goal should have been a catalyst for us to get more, so he should have been annoyed at the players. They should be told in no uncertain terms that it was not acceptable. To be winning 2-0 and allow a team to come back in due to sheer complacency, that is not acceptable.”

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