Stephen Kenny will not abandon his attacking philosophy as he attempts to lead the Republic of Ireland to the finals of Euro 2024.
Kenny signaled his intention to play a more enterprising game of football when he replaced Mick McCarthy as Ireland manager in April 2020 and has, for better or for worse, stuck to his guns ever since.
On Tuesday night he watched his side gamble away a 2-0 Nations League lead against Armenia within two minutes of the second half before Robbie Brady salvaged the win with a late penalty, but he didn’t apologize when he was after was asked about his approach.
Kenny said, “We were just a little too eager. We were too far on the pitch together for a 2-0 win.
“But listen, that doesn’t mean we won’t keep attacking, because we will. That’s what we’re committed to, we’re committed to playing the way we want to play.
“We made mistakes and ended up conceding goals, but we won the game and we totally deserved to win.
“There is no question that we deserved to win this game – we should have won it by scoring more goals than we did. We will learn our lessons.”
The win was just Kenny’s fourth in 21 competitive games and while it secured Ireland’s League B status when defeat would have seen them relegated, it did little to convince the manager’s critics that his path is the right one .
They dominated the early stages and took a deserved lead through John Egan’s header in the 18th minute, but they struggled to break through a stubborn Armenian defense and had to wait until seven minutes after the break for Michael Obafemi to extend their lead from a distance.
They rushed forward in their eagerness to end the game, only to succumb to Artak Dashyan’s strike and Eduard Spertsyan’s equalizer before Brady was saved from the penalty spot in added time.
The result, which avenged a 1-0 defeat in Yerevan on Matchday 1, was welcome but the manner in which it was achieved raised questions about the Republic’s chances of succeeding in the forthcoming qualifiers.
However, Kenny, who signed a contract extension in March, said: “We will play against better sides than Armenia in our quest to qualify for the European Championship. We’ll be playing against teams of the same level, and probably a few that aren’t as well. Everything is relative.
“From a technical point of view it was a good performance and we dominated. There’s room for improvement in some areas of our attacking game and we were over-aggressive in pursuit of that third goal when we didn’t need to be. It really was.
“It wasn’t a euphoric dressing room, even though we won 3-2. The players know it. How did they get into this situation when they were absolutely dominant? How did it happen?
“It’s important for them to realize that they actually did a lot of things very well in the game and we have to learn from this situation and I expect that they will do that.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/stephen-kenny-republic-of-ireland-michael-obafemi-armenia-nations-league-b2177598.html Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny continues to rely on attacking style