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Stephen Kenny has insisted he has not sought assurances over his future as Republic of Ireland manager despite facing mounting criticism.
Kenny’s position has been questioned and potential successors touted in the wake of a hugely disappointing 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifying defeat in Greece on Friday evening which left Ireland’s hopes of making it to the finals in severe jeopardy after just two games.
However, asked if he had been given any assurances by the Football Association of Ireland that he would see out the campaign, the 51-year-old replied: “I haven’t sought any assurance. That’s not something I do.”
Kenny, who complained about “a lack of respect” at his pre-match press conference, was asked how he felt he was doing as Ireland manager.
He said: “I’m not going to sit here and do a full press conference on an assessment of my period in charge or anything like that, I’m here really to prepare for tomorrow, the game against Gibraltar.
“It’s a big game for us. Obviously, I’m disappointed that we lost against Greece, but we’ve got to bounce back against Gibraltar and I’m fairly sure we can do that, and we’ll take that into September.”
For all Kenny’s bullishness, Ireland have won only four of the 23 competitive games they have played under his charge and lost five of the last eight.
Asked if that was a source of disappointment, he said: “It’s a fair question. I’m disappointed about the Greek game, I’m disappointed we didn’t get the result that we needed. Listen, we have lost a game that we wanted to win and we have to bounce back against Gibraltar.”
Former Ireland boss Brian Kerr was critical of Kenny’s tenure in his role as a TV pundit, while counterpart Liam Brady, one of the nation’s most gifted former internationals, described the current squad as “the worst group of players that any manager has had in my lifetime”.
James McClean, who will captain the side against Gibraltar on Monday as he collects his 100th cap, said: “It would be very stupid and naive for me to sit here and take on Liam Brady and criticise Liam Brady with the calibre of player that he was and what he was. I’m not going to do that.
“But look, we have a tendency, especially in this country, to get carried away. We are two games in now. This country in the past has shown that we have big results in us when no-one has expected it.
“There is a lot of football to be played between now and the end of the campaign. We’re not naive, we know it’s going to be tough, very tough, but we have to start somewhere and we aim to do that on Monday night against Gibraltar and take it a game at a time.”
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