Tag Archives: crisis

Fulham and Martin Jol"s issues to resolve in 2013

Fulham near crisis point after defeat against Swansea… and here are the key issues Jol and Co need to resolve in the New Year

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 30 December 2012

Among some rather vague comments about Dimitar Berbatov’s best position and Fulham’s January shopping policy, Martin Jol was adamant of one thing on Saturday evening.

Fulham’s performance in the 2-1 defeat against Swansea was, he said, their best for two months. It must have been a cold winter for some supporters.

Jol’s team are now 14th in the Barclays Premier League and only four points clear of the bottom three. Their last win was five games ago; prior to that they had been winless in seven. A drama is fast becoming a crisis and, worryingly, there are numerous issues to resolve.

Cold winter: Martin Jol claimed that the 2-1 defeat to Swansea was Fulham's best performance in two months

Cold winter: Martin Jol claimed that the 2-1 defeat to Swansea was Fulham's best performance in two months

Unlucky: Fulham were beaten 2-1 at home by Swansea

Unlucky: Fulham were beaten 2-1 at home by Swansea

LOVERS AND FIGHTERS

Jol highlighted one of Fulham’s key issues ahead of the Liverpool defeat earlier this month when he said his side had ‘too many lovers, not enough fighters’.

Those comments came after a 2-1 defeat against QPR in which his side won nine tackles (their average at the time was 17) and their tally for the season is 259 – better than only Everton and Reading.

There is much to love about the way Fulham play, especially flair players like Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz, but, Steve Sidwell and the injured Mohamadou Diarra aside, there is no great physical presence in midfield.

Left-back Matthew Briggs, making his second league start of the season, lost a 50-50 against 5ft 5in Nathan Dyer on Saturday, which told its own story.

OLD LEGS AND TOO MUCH TINKERING

Fulham have the division’s oldest squad with an average age of 27.72 years and that might explain their propensity for niggly injuries and, also, why their attacks occasionally lack zip.

Their squad is loaded with guile but, in the absence of real pace, they sometimes lack an extra dimension, which makes them easier to defend against. Earlier in the season they had one of the most prolific attacks, and yet they have scored only five in their past eight games.

Tactically, Jol has been restricted by injuries and the departures of important players like Moussa Dembele, Clint Dempsey and Danny Murphy.

With them he hoped to play a dynamic 4-3-3, but since they left, and because of injuries, he has been forced to revert to 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 systems that he favours less.

Departure: Jol saw the likes of Mousa Dembele leave for pastures new

Departure: Jol saw the likes of Mousa Dembele leave for pastures new

Flying the nest: Clint Dempsey (left) followed Dembele to Tottenham

Flying the nest: Clint Dempsey (left) followed Dembele to Tottenham

Me too: Jol let Danny Murphy (left) leave for Blackburn

Me too: Jol let Danny Murphy (left) leave for Blackburn

Jol said: ‘In May we had Murphy, Dembele and Dempsey in midfield. After that we had Diarra, Sidwell and Ruiz. Last week I played with Kieran Richardson, Giorgios (Karagounis) and Chris Baird… we cannot play in our formation the last three months.’

There is no denying the fine job Jol has done while overhauling the teams of Roy Hodgson and Mark Hughes – only three of the 18-man squad that faced Swansea were involved in the 2010 Europa League final – but he seems unsure of what his best XI is. Indeed, he has retained the same players for consecutive games only once this season and on Saturday there were six changes.

AWAY DAY MISERY

The never-ending issue. Of their 11 completed Premier League seasons, they have never won more than five games on the road in a campaign (2003-04) and averaged three.

They have done so only once this so far season, when they beat Wigan 2-1.

JANUARY SALES

Jol admitted on Saturday that reinforcements are needed. Sportsmail understands he will enter the January market with a 10million budget and wants a goalkeeper, defender and midfielder.

Jol said: 'I have the chairman’s number and if I need something I give him a phone call. So I gave him a phone call.

'Sometimes he gives me a call. I feel if everyone is fit we are good enough, but there are a few players who are a bit older, a bit injury prone, so we have to try to do something.'

Woeful: David Stockdale made an error for Swansea's second goal

Woeful: David Stockdale made an error for Swansea's second goal

Beneficiary: Jonathan De Guzman pounced to score the decisive goal

Beneficiary: Jonathan De Guzman pounced to score the decisive goal

On the back of Saturday’s showing, the goalkeeper search will take on added importance. Second-choice keeper David Stockdale had a shocker and the second goal was a ‘Christmas gift’ to Swansea, according to Jol.

Regular stopper Mark Schwarzer, 40, was out with a neck injury, but after years of impressive performances he is having a relatively poor season behind a leaky defence (only five teams have conceded more than Fulham’s 36).

CAUSE FOR OPTIMISM

Bryan Ruiz. He missed six games with injury, but on his first start since November 18 he was Swansea manager Michael Laudrup’s man of the match.

His partnership with Berbatov is lovely to watch and can be extremely effective with the right support.

‘He was one of our best players so I’m very happy that he’s back to his old level and that he’s pulling the strings,’ Jol said.

When fit, Ruiz has the ability to get Fulham scoring again and the points should follow.

Every cloud... Bryan Ruiz (left) has dazzled behind the frontman this season

Every cloud… Bryan Ruiz (left) has dazzled behind the frontman this season

Paul O"Connell doubtful for Six Nations

Ireland's injury crisis worsens with O'Connell doubtful for Six Nations ahead of back surgery

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 30 December 2012

Former Lions captain Paul O'Connell is a major doubt for Ireland's upcoming Six Nations campaign after his provincial side Munster announced that he would be undergoing surgery on a back injury that has blighted his season.

O'Connell has been dogged by injury in recent years and has only played two games for Munster this season with the back injury also forcing him to sit out Ireland's November internationals.

Green giant: O'Connell captained Ireland throughout last year's Six Nations

Green giant: O'Connell captained Ireland throughout last year's Six Nations

A statement from Munster revealed that the 33-year-old lock would undergo back surgery at the earliest opportunity but did not give a time frame for how long his recovery would take.

Ulster wing Tommy Bowe, the country's third highest try scorer of all time, was ruled out of the Six Nations earlier this month with a knee injury. Ireland open their campaign in Wales on February 2.

Andre Villas-Boas holds meeting with Spurs defenders over late goals

Enough is enough! Villas-Boas holds crisis talks with Spurs defenders over late goals

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UPDATED:

11:53 GMT, 19 December 2012

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has held a meeting with his defenders in a bid to stop the late goals that have blighted their season, centre-back William Gallas has revealed.

Spurs have conceded 10 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches this campaign, which is a Barclays Premier League high along with bottom side Reading.

That inability to keep things tight until the final whistle has cost them – so much so that if matches had ended at 80 minutes they would be top of the Premier League.

Focus: William Gallas (right) knows only too well Spurs have been sloppy late on

Focus: William Gallas (right) knows only too well Spurs have been sloppy late on

'We've had a meeting with him (Villas-Boas) because we've been conceding late goals and we have to be a little bit more focused, a bit more strong,' Gallas told talkSPORT.

'Sometimes maybe we are panicking and we've let goals in. So we've been working very hard and we've had some meetings to look at the video to see what is good and bad, and against Swansea it was good to keep a clean sheet.

'In this period, we have a lot of games and some players are tired – they have already played more than 20 games this season, which is a lot. It's very intense.

Once is bad enough: But Everton scored twice in the dying minutes - through Nikica Jelavic and former Spurs player Steven Pienaar - earlier this month

Once is bad enough: But Everton scored twice in the dying minutes – through Nikica Jelavic and former Spurs player Steven Pienaar – earlier this month

'If we want to stay in the top four, we have to get all the players ready for the matches over Christmas and New Year, because we are going to be playing four games in 11 days.'

Stoke kick off the festive period with their visit to White Hart Lane this weekend, before Spurs head to Aston Villa on Boxing Day.

'Stoke are a strong side and it will be difficult but we've got the quality,' Gallas said.

'We can play football and we're playing at home, so we don't have any excuses to lose the game.

Late show: Spurs led Everton until the 89th minute before going down 2-1

Late show: Spurs led Everton until the 89th minute before going down 2-1

'Then we play Villa, who are on fire at the moment after winning 3-1 at Liverpool in their last game, and at the moment they are confident.

'They have Christian Benteke in attack, who has shown this season what a good player he is.

'At the moment, we are in the top four and they are trying to survive in the Premier League, so it will be a good game.'

Sort it out: Manager Andre Villas-Boas is sick of Spurs' late lapses

Sort it out: Manager Andre Villas-Boas is sick of Spurs' late lapses

West Brom 0 West Ham 0: Match report

West Brom 0 West Ham 0: Baggies and Hammers serve up laborious bore draw

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UPDATED:

18:21 GMT, 16 December 2012

James Morrison was twice denied by the woodwork but West Brom failed to score for a third successive game in a dire stalemate with West Ham.

The Baggies at least had the consolation of ending a run of three successive defeats and maintained their place in the top six.

But Sam Allardyce's side were worth a share of the spoils in a game which seldom moved out of second gear.

Tussle: Mark Noble (right) vies for the ball with West Bromwich Albion's Hungarian midfielder Zoltan Gera

Tussle: Mark Noble (right) vies for the ball with West Bromwich Albion's Hungarian midfielder Zoltan Gera

Match facts

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Brunt, Morrison, Mulumbu, Gera (Lukaku 75), Odemwingie, Long (Rosenberg 83).

Subs: Daniels, Dorrans, Lukaku, Dawson, Tamas, Fortune.

Booked: Jones, Mulumbu, Olsson.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel (Tomkins 81), Reid, Collins, O'Brien, Noble, O'Neil, Jarvis (Maiga 76), Nolan, Taylor, Cole.

Subs: Spiegel, Spence, Moncur, Lletget.

Booked: O'Brien, Tomkins, Nolan.

Attendance: 24,186.

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

Morrison posed Albion's most creative threat despite operating in a deeper role in the absence of the injured Claudio Yacob.

But the Hammers showed plenty of resilience with central defender James Collins a rock solid performer.

The home players wore black armbands in tribute to long-serving club masseur Derrick Jones who died earlier this week.

West Ham were only able to field six
substitutes due to their current injury crisis after Mohamed Diame was
ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Albion made a promising start but the
first semblance of a chance fell to the visitors with Mark Noble
heading a deep cross from Carlton Cole over the bar.

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie
was on target with a low 25-yard drive although Jussi Jaaskelainen got
his body behind the ball.

Hotly contested: Billy Jones (left) tries to beat Matt Jarvis to the ball

Hotly contested: Billy Jones (left) tries to beat Matt Jarvis to the ball

A rare attempt: Cole tries to find the net but his effort is snuffled out

A rare attempt: Cole tries to find the net but his effort is snuffled out

Pile up: Carlton Cole tries to keep the ball away from Jonas Olsson (behind) and Gareth McAuley

Pile up: Carlton Cole tries to keep the ball away from Jonas Olsson (behind) and Gareth McAuley

But there was little goalmouth action
in the opening quarter of the game as both sides struggled to find a
creative spark although Morrison ventured forward to fire a low shot
past the post.

Shane Long created space for himself
on the edge of the Hammers' box after turning past Noble but dragged his
drive into the side-netting.

Joey O'Brien became the first player
to be yellow carded after half an hour for a touch-line challenge on
Baggies midfielder Zoltan Gera.

Chris Brunt drilled a long-range
attempt into the hands of Jaaskelainen before Winston Reid spurned a
gilt-edged chance for West Ham.

Collins headed a Noble corner back into the danger area and Reid volleyed over the bar.

Carlton Cole stung the palms of
Albion keeper Boaz Myhill with a 30-yard drive but it was Albion who
started the second period on the offensive and Morrison's hooked volley
struck the top of the bar.

Then the Scottish international
sliced his shot wide after Gareth McAuley had headed a fourth successive
corner from Brunt into his path.

High flying: Steve Clarke's West Brom have performed well this season

High flying: Steve Clarke's West Brom have performed well this season

Tracking: Shane Long tries to escape the attention of Noble

Tracking: Shane Long tries to escape the attention of Noble

Reid got into another good position to attack an inswinging corner from Noble but could not keep down his near-post header.

Jaaskelainen failed to hold onto a powerful attempt from Gera but Long could not take advantage of the rebound.

Reid produced a vital clearance to turn a low Odemwingie centre over his own bar under pressure from Long.

But West Ham looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Joey O'Brien volleyed over at full stretch from a deep Noble free-kick.

Morrison struck the bar for the second time with 17 minutes remaining with a header from Brunt's corner.

Youssouf Mulumbu, Kevin Nolan and
Hammers substitute James Tomkins were all booked in quick succession by
referee Phil Dowd in the final stages of the game.

Cole nearly made the breakthrough in
the final seconds when his snap shot had Myhill scrambling across his
line to save at the foot of a post but a draw was a fair outcome.

Sam Allardyce

Gera challenges O'Brien

Waiting for action: Sam Allardyce (left) oversaw a very tight first half in which neither side made many openings

West Ham fan in a Santa beard

West Brom fan in a chicken hat

Bored This West Ham fan made his own fun by wearing a Santa beard, while he found a rival in this West Brom fan (right), who decided to wear a less seasonal piece of headwear

Newcastle 1 Maritimo 1: match report

Newcastle 1 Maritimo 1: Toon in last 32 but Ben Arfa and Cisse add to injury crisis

PUBLISHED:

21:55 GMT, 22 November 2012

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UPDATED:

21:57 GMT, 22 November 2012

Sylvain Marveaux scored his first goal for Newcastle as Alan Pardew's men booked their place in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The 22-year-old French midfielder latched onto a perfectly weighted pass from Hatem Ben Arfa to outstrip the defence and slot the bll through the keeper's legs.

Sub Fidelis powered home a 79th-minute equaliser but Bordeaux's 2-1 victory over Bruges meant a point was enough for Newcastle.

But the result was marred by injuries to midfielder Ben Arfa (hamstring) and striker Papiss Cisse (back).

More to follow

Cool finish: Newcastle United's Sylvain Marveaux scores the opening goal

Cool finish: Newcastle United's Sylvain Marveaux scores the opening goal

Match facts

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The latest Europa League tables, fixtures and results

More to follow

Tottenham facing injury headache for Arsenal clash

Tottenham boss Villas-Boas facing injury headache for Arsenal clash

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UPDATED:

09:04 GMT, 14 November 2012

Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas is facing a mounting injury crisis ahead of Saturday's north London derby against Arsenal.

Kyle Walker, Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon are all struggling to be fit for the Premier League showdown at the Emirates.

Injury headache: Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas

Injury headache: Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas

And Mousa Dembele is unlikely to be risked as he battles with a long-standing hip problem.

Walker, Defoe and Lennon are all to assessed on Thursday
after they suffered hamstring injuries during the 2-1 defeat at
Manchester City last weekend, which prevented them from taking part in England's
friendly in Sweden.

Walker and Lennon withdrew from the
original squad and Defoe was unable to link up with Roy Hodgson's group
as cover for Wayne Rooney

Walker looked in some discomfort when he limped off towards the end of the match at Etihad Stadium, while Lennon was also replaced late on. Defoe played little part in the game after coming on as an 80th-minute substitute for Emmanuel Adebayor.

Concern: Kyle Walker holds his hamstring

Concern: Kyle Walker holds his hamstring

Villas-Boas will be hoping for better news from Mousa Dembele. The Belgian midfielder has not played for Spurs since October 7 because of a hip injury and is struggling to be fit for the trip to Emirates Stadium.

Spurs decided not to send Dembele for surgery to cure the problem but they have missed his energy and creativity in the centre and desperately need him to recover, with matches against Lazio, West Ham and Liverpool to follow the north London derby.

Younes Kaboul, Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto also remain sidelined as Spurs approach an important period of their season.

And assistant boss Steffen Freund believes Spurs have caught up with the Gunners since his playing days at White Hart Lane.

He said: 'We're really close to our big rivals. I can't wait for the game.'

Pep Guardiola ready for offers as pressure builds on Roberto Mancini

Pressure builds on Mancini as Guardiola announces he'll consider offers for next job

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UPDATED:

10:40 GMT, 8 November 2012

More pressure has been heaped on Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini as Pep Guardiola has said he will listen to any offers for his next job.

The former Barcelona manager is spending a year out of the game after leaving the club last summer, having been beaten to the La Liga title by Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid.

But now the 41-year-old coach is ready to consider approaches from clubs – in particular from the Premier League champions – but will not manage again until next season.

Pressure: Roberto Mancini, who watched his side draw against Ajax on Tuesday, may be replaced by Pep Guardiola

Pressure: Roberto Mancini, who watched his side draw against Ajax on Tuesday, may be replaced by Pep Guardiola

Guardiola has been linked with a move to AC Milan, and before Roman Abramovich made Roberto Di Matteo his full-time coach, the Spaniard was touted as a candidate to succeed Andre Villas-Boas.

More recently Guardiola has been linked with a move to City.

For the second year running City look set to tumble out of the Champions League in the group stages, having picked up only two points of a possible 12.

Guardiola’s agent Jose Maria Orobitg cooled speculation that the former Spain international could be on his way to AC Milan, according to The Sun.

He said: ‘The doors are open for them, just like they are open for Manchester City, Chelsea and so on.

‘Pep will listen to offers and then he will evaluate them.

‘But so far we haven’t talked about Milan because Guardiola won’t be coaching until next season.’

Champion: Guardiola (centre) achieved multiple successes at the Nou Camp

Champion: Guardiola (centre) achieved multiple successes at the Nou Camp

Building: Mancini's side are no way near crisis point though, and sit two points behind leaders Manchester United in the Premier League

Building: Mancini's side are no way near crisis point though, and sit two points behind leaders Manchester United in the Premier League

RATTLED ROBERTO

Ian Ladyman

The decision of referee Peter Rasmussen not to include details of Roberto Mancini's peculiar post-match behaviour in his report from Tuesday night's Champions League game at the Etihad Stadium has, by all accounts, left UEFA feeling a little baffled.

The European governing body were expecting to ban Manchester City manager Mancini for a game.

He would not have relished watching City's clash at home to Real Madrid later this month from a distance.

Nevertheless, memories of his antics during and after Tuesday's game will remain vivid for a while and it is hard not to wonder what impact his state of agitation is having on his players.
Read Ian Ladyman's full article

A move from Manchester City’s billionaire owners was made more plausible when the Abu Dhabi consortium headed by Sheikh Mansour appointed former Nou Camp bosses Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain.

But Mancini’s position is not under immediate threat. Despite their hapless displays in the Champions League, City remain unbeaten in the league, just two points off leaders Manchester United.

The Italian had his first meeting with Begiristain this week, and is keen to finally acquire the services of long-term target Daniele De Rossi.

The Roma midfielder could be ready to leave the club he has spent more than a decade at to join compatriots Mancini and striker Mario Balotelli at the Etihad.

Despite pledging his future to Roma earlier this year, the 29-year-old is believed to have told close friends in Rome that he is ready for a new challenge.

Roma would want in excess of 20million for the central midfielder, and De Rossi would expect more than 100,000 a week, which could be problematic for City as they attempt to curb their spending to adhere to UEFA's financial fair play regulations.

Mountain to climb: Siem de Jong's double for Ajax left City's Champions League campaign in tatters

Mountain to climb: Siem de Jong's double for Ajax left City's Champions League campaign in tatters

Blue future Mancini is keen to land Italy and Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi (right) in January

Blue future Mancini is keen to land Italy and Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi (right) in January

Arsenal chief Ivan Gazidis: Premier League must adopt our financial model

Premier League clubs must adopt Arsenal's tight financial model, warns chief Gazidis

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UPDATED:

08:03 GMT, 11 October 2012

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis believes there is a 'developing consensus' in the Premier League that there is a need for financial regulation.

UEFA have already introduced Financial Fair Play guidelines for clubs to live within their means.

Arsenal recently posted a healthy pre-tax profit and Gazidis believes they provide the model which could be adopted by more clubs as they look to become self-sustaining.

Mixed results: Arsenal are a fixture in the Champions League each season but have not won a major trophy since their FA Cup triumph in 2005

Mixed results: Arsenal are a fixture in the Champions League each season but have not won a major trophy since their FA Cup triumph in 2005

He told BBC Five Live: 'Arsenal were operating this way a long time before football looked at it and decided it would be a good path for football to move into.

'I think people believe money can be spent without consequence and if we learnt anything from the financial crisis the world has had over the last few years it has to be unsustainable spending and unsustainable environments don't last forever.

'I think football is in a fantastic position to address this because we are in a position where I am very optimistic for the future of football. The revenues the game generates, particularly the Premier League's position, is fantastic.

'This is a very successful UK industry and it deserves a lot of credit for that.

Keeping it tight: Arsene Wenger works to Arsenal's own financial regulations

Keeping it tight: Arsene Wenger works to Arsenal's own financial regulations

'This is a great time for us, when things are going well, to address issues of unsustainability while we can because as we've learned addressing them from a position of weakness is never a satisfactory way to do it.

'The Premier League owners are coming together: I think there is a developing consensus around the fact we need some form of tighter financial regulations to make sure as we look forward that the interest of the Premier League, its clubs and the fans are well protected.

'(And) we are running our league on a sound financial business model and taking advantage of what this league has to become the world's leading sports league.'

According to Gazidis, the Gunners have always tried to strike the balance between the long and short-term and have managed to resist just pushing for the latter without taking heed of potential consequences.

He also defended manager Arsene Wenger, who many have accused of letting the club fall far behind the likes of the Manchester teams due to his perceived aversion to spending money.

Gazidis said: 'I don't think Arsene is conservative, I think he is extraordinarily brave. I think he does things others don't do and sees things others don't see.

'Arsene is not fixed on the price of a player in assessing a player's value, he will look with equal weight at a young player who is coming through the Arsenal academy and a player that might be available with a very hefty price tag from overseas.

'He is not afraid to spend money when he believes in a player and sees a player he thinks can kick us forward but he is not obsessed with the security that a big transfer fee might give him.'

While he understands the criticism that has come the club's way because of the lack of silverware, Gazidis is convinced the wait for a trophy will soon be over.

He said: 'I think the time when we have to continue to ask them (Arsenal supporters) for patience is coming to an end and I think we will be able to deliver the kind of success they want on a consistent basis going forward as one of the leading clubs in Europe.'

Republic of Ireland injury crisis is no excuse against Germany – Giovanni Trapattoni

Injury crisis will not be an excuse if Ireland lose to Germany, insists Trapattoni

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 8 October 2012

The Republic of Ireland have become embroiled in an injury crisis ahead of one of their toughest World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Germany.

But manager Giovanni Trapattoni is refusing to use the worst injury ravages of his reign as an excuse before the Germans have even landed in Dublin ahead of Friday's showdown at the Aviva Stadium.

The Ireland boss has finally turned to Aston Villa regular Ciaran Clark, who was left out of last month’s wins over Kazakhstan and Oman, however, he will not be attempting to call up recently retired veteran Damien Duff in an emergency and continues to overlook Norwich City’s Wes Hoolahan.

Fighting fit: Striker Shane Long (left) in training with the Republic of Ireland squad at Gannon Park on Monday

Fighting fit: Striker Shane Long (left) in training with the Republic of Ireland squad at Gannon Park on Monday

Following the weekend withdrawal of Wolves striker Kevin Doyle, Trapattoni’s worst fears were realised when seasoned campaigners Sean St Ledger and Glenn Whelan were both ruled out of this week’s double header against Germany and Faroe Islands with hamstring injuries.

Sunderland winger James McClean has also stayed in Wearside for treatment to a hip flexor problem and the former Derry City man is certain to miss both games.

The latest setbacks were the worst possible start to less than a week of preparations for the Italian coach and his squad who held their first training session in Malahide on Monday.

Stoke City striker Jon Walters missed morning training as a precaution while captain Robbie Keane and Russia-based midfielder Aiden McGeady are due in the team hotel today.

After training, Trapattoni admitted the injury problems will affect the squad’s preparations for the second qualifying match in their World Cup group. It offers the under-fire Ireland boss ready-made excuses for any defeat to the group favourites, and any embarrassment they may suffer in the Faroes next week.

But Trapattoni said: 'We don’t need to look for excuses.

'I wish to remember the final of the Champions League last season when the favourites, 100 per cent, were Bayern Munich. Bayern had 17 corners Bayern, Chelsea had three and Chelsea won the game and the Champions League. That is football.

Blow: Sunderland winger James McClean (centre) is certain to miss Ireland's double header

Blow: Sunderland winger James McClean (centre) is certain to miss Ireland's double header

'We need 11 players to give 100 per cent. Every one of us must give 100 per cent or I will need to change the team. I have spoken to them about their enthusiasm and giving 100 per cent commitment when we call them.

'We saw last month in Kazakhstan with Kevin Doyle what can happen when a player comes off the bench and scores. Intelligent players can wait for their moment whether they are on the bench, or not.

'I don’t think about the injured players now. All the injuries are being monitored by their club doctors and also by our doctor. Glenn wanted to be here, he’s very respectful of the Irish jersey, but he’s gone now for both games.

'We just need all the players available before we can pick a team. We have 24 players now and we have no other surprises.'

One surprise which was ruled out from the team camp was the possibility of Trapattoni’s assistant Marco Tardelli pursuing centurion Duff, who stunned the Italian contingent with his decision to retire after the Euro 2012 debacle.

Last month Tardelli said he had talked constantly with the Fulham winger, who has made a bright start to the new season, and believed he could be persuaded to return to the fold. But Duff will not be approached, despite the sparse squad available for this week.

Although stubborn Trapattoni is also refusing to look towards new blood like Hoolahan, who has also played regularly in the Premier League with strugglers Norwich City, he is determined to move on from the European Championship finals campaign this month.

He added: 'I believe the new campaign and the wins over Kazakhstan and Oman have calmed the disappointment of the Euros.

'I never wish to hear again about disappointment, disappointment, disappointment. It is finished now and we don’t need excuses.'

Jonny Evans on Manchester United"s defensive injury crisis

Evans desperate to dodge injuries amid defensive crisis at Manchester United

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UPDATED:

12:54 GMT, 2 October 2012

Jonny Evans is desperate to retain his form and fitness so Manchester United can avoid the crippling injury crisis that decimated their back line at times last season.

The club seemed cursed with defensive injuries as their Premier League and Champions League hopes unravelled last year and things haven't improved in recent weeks.

The latest setback affected captain Nemanja Vidic, who only returned to action at the start of the season following an eight-month lay off. The Serb has been ruled out for two months with a knee injury.

Defensive headache: Jonny Evans has stressed the need for himself and Rio Ferdinand to retain their fitness

Defensive headache: Jonny Evans has stressed the need for himself and Rio Ferdinand to retain their fitness

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are still on the treatment table, though manager Sir Alex Ferguson is optimistic Smalling will return after the international break next week.

United are in Romania for their second Champions League group match with Cluj, with Evans expected to start alongside Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the defence.

Youngsters Scott Wootton and Michael Keane have been included in the squad as cover after impressing on their debuts against Newcastle United in the League Cup last week.

Best foot forward: Ryan Giggs (left), Jonny Evans (centre) and Rio Ferdinand in training on Monday

Best foot forward: Ryan Giggs (left), Jonny Evans (centre) and Rio Ferdinand in training on Monday

Evans believes it is vital he and Ferdinand stay fit as a stable central defensive pairing is important if United are to overcome a stuttering start to the season.

'I think every defender will tell you that when you have a settled partner beside you, you get a good understanding, and with a run of games your match fitness and concentration go up,' Evans said.

'That's something I can hopefully build on in the next few weeks.'

Manchester United player Jonny Evans

Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United

First choice partnership: Jonny Evans (left) and Rio Ferdinand have been starting at the heart of defence for Manchester United in recent weeks

The Ulsterman is not expecting an easy win against the Romanian champions, who pulled off a surprise result by beating Braga 2-0 away from home in their opening match.

'I don't think you can go away from home in the Champions League and get lucky if you score two goals and keep a clean sheet,' he said.

'They've obviously got a good side and that's something we need to be wary of.'