DUBLIN (AFP) - Republic of Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni kept the door open for the selection of Stephen Ireland and Andy Reid after a listless draw against Montenegro brought an end to their World Cup qualifying campaign.
With a play-off place already assured, the charismatic Italian had little to say about a game in which his team fashioned few chances against a Montenegro team deprived of its two best players.
Instead, he looked forward to next month's play-offs insisting he held no grudges against Reid who he has rarely selected and Ireland who refuses to make himself available.
"Never say never whether it is Andy Reid or Stephen Ireland. I really don't have anything against these players. I could meet them tomorrow and they may come back tomorrow," said Trapattoni.
However, he hinted at his views on both players.
While not naming Ireland, he said it was "strange" that a player would not want to play for his national team. And he appeared to refer to Reid's reputation for poor fitness levels when stressing that he expected players to run hard for 90 minutes.
Speaking briefly about the game, Trapattoni said that despite the weaker second-half performance his team were the only one who deserved victory.
"I thought we deserved to score a goal because in the first 45 minutes we dominated. Over the 90 minutes we were the better team," he said.
But his focus was clearly on the play-offs next month.
He expressed his concern about the seeding arrangements which means Ireland are likely to be drawn against one of Europe's top teams next Monday.
"We will speak about why this draw is like this in Zurich. We deserve respect like the other important, great countries. We should all be the same but we are Ireland, a small nation."
His team could be drawn against France, Portugal, Greece or Russia; and while expressing concern about playing in Moscow in winter, he said his team would not fear any opponent.
He again insisted his team was still in development and that their mentality would be the crucial factor over the two legs.
"We are really aware of what we have to build with this team and what we did build with new players and young players. We must believe in our mentality, our performance, our scheme.
"It is really important that this team has believed and have listened to my words. When I came we were a team that disappointed. But we built a new team with new players and young players.
"With super players it is not enough. They can create but against the team with the best mentality it is the team with the best mentality that is the winner. The show is not important it is the result that matters.
"At the moment we have not achieved first position but we are still in the running. I think the psychology of our situation is that the glass is full not half empty.
"When Ireland was a winning team in the past, they had a strong mentality and had players that would cut you in half. Players like Roy Keane, they were strong physically but also in character. And we need to build this in our team."
An injury to Martin Rowlands cast a shadow across the game after he caught his foot in the Croke Park turf and was stretchered off.
"Martin has a cruciate knee injury - it is only the first examination but it looks serious. It is a shame he has only come back from a long injury and he was good enough to put in the team," Trapattoni said.
|S. St. Ledger|
|Coach: G. Trapattoni|
|Shamrock Rovers 3 Progres Niederkorn 0: Waters at the double|
|Gerrard keen to emulate ´hero´ Beckham at Galaxy|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Red Imps make history, TNS breeze through|
|Ameobi extends Newcastle deal and heads for Cardiff|
|U.S. women celebrate World Cup victory with LA rally|
|Atletico agree Vietto deal|
|Silva appointed Olympiacos head coach|
|Presidential candidates unsure of Turan´s Barca switch|
|Toure keen to bounce back from ´disappointing´ campaign|
|El Salvador v Canada: Floro targets Gold Cup learning curve|
|Juve complete Zaza swoop|
|Costa Rica v Jamaica: Borges confident Wanchope´s men are ready|
|Marseille snare Sarr|
|Italy coach Conte to stand trial in match-fixing case|
|Castan keen to repay Roma´s faith|
|Rami thrilled to reunite with ´best coach´ Emery at Sevilla|
|Lusitans v West Ham: Tomkins seeks to silence minnows|
|Kagawa shines as Dortmund hit six in Japan|
|Alonso tips Gerrard for Galaxy glory|
|Firmino seeks self-improvement with Liverpool|
|Buffon bids farewell to Pirlo|
|Sterling named Europe´s ´most valuable´ young player|
|Casillas´ agent reveals Porto offer|
|Southampton bring in Martina|
|Dundee United accept Celtic´s Ciftci bid|
|McArthur pens new Palace deal|
|Bartomeu rules out Barca move for Pogba this year|
|Spurs have to be better now - Bentaleb|
|Milner expects central role|
|Micronesia thrashed again, this time 46-0|
|Marchisio: I cannot be Pirlo´s heir|
|Inter aiming for Champions League return - Icardi|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Brondby and Slovan to protect handsome leads|
|Bentaleb pens new long-term deal at Tottenham|
|Barca agree Turan deal|
|FIFA bans Mayne-Nicholls|
|United States v Honduras: Klinsmann demands improvement ahead of Gold Cup opener|
|CONCACAF institutes extensive reforms in wake of FIFA corruption scandal|
|Mauri completes Milan move|
|City sign Turkey striker|
|Women´s World Cup final draws huge US TV ratings|
|My first Chelsea team better than current crop - Drogba|
|Bertrand set for lay-off after knee surgery|
|New five-year Juve deal for Marchisio|
|Allegri extends Juve contract|
|Koeman reiterates Alderweireld interest|
|Valencia bag Bakkali|
|New York City FC complete Pirlo capture|
|Panama v Haiti: Collat ready to challenge the best of CONCACAF|
|UEFA Champions League Preview: Harrison eyes TNS progression|
|FIFA sanctions Yemen for fielding ineligible player|
|Toulouse rubbish Ben Yedder exit reports|
|Mourinho ´knows what he´s doing´ with Falcao signing|
|Watford shell out club-record fee for Capoue|
|Braafheid signs Lazio extension|
|Nani finalises Fenerbahce move|
|Liverpool confirm O´Driscoll appointment|
|Liverpool have to start better - Lucas|
|USA simply too good - Sasaki|
|Portland Timbers 1 San Jose Earthquakes 0: Jewsbury wins it in stoppage time|
|No move yet for Van Persie|
|Lloyd wins Golden Ball, Silver Boot awards|
|Mascherano: I never grabbed Banega|
|Dunga requested Brazil not appeal Neymar´s suspension|
|United States 5 Japan 2: Lloyd stars with hat-trick|
|Fiorentina deny Inter criticism|
|Nani relishing Fenerbahce opportunity|
|Newcastle hold talks over Northampton youngster|
|Cuadrado´s agent plays down Chelsea exit rumours|
|Liverpool´s Alberto set for Deportivo loan|
|Leverkusen suffer surprise defeat, Stuttgart hit six|
|Inter ´dismayed´ at Fiorentina vice-president´s Salah Twitter outburst|
|Blaszczykowski ruled out of Dortmund´s Asia tour|
|Gerrard gets the beers in for LA Galaxy fans|
|De Gea coy over Real links|
|Former Brazil star Carlos handed Delhi reins|
|Ciftci will not push through Celtic switch – agent|
|In-demand Mitrovic considering Roma offer|
|Lehmann calls on Cech to ´get over´ Chelsea|
|Marlos double sinks Monaco|
|Mauritius 0 South Africa 2 (agg 0-5): Bafana set up Angola qualifier|
|Keane relishing Gerrard arrival|
|Palace confirm Cabaye interest|
|Hamburg bring in Spahic after head-butt ban|
|Blatter hits out at France and Germany over World Cup votes|
|Sanchez: World Cup exit spurred Chile to Copa glory|
|Jojic makes Cologne switch, Santana move falls through|
|Carrillo keen to get going at Monaco|
|Micronesia thrashed 38-0 as Fiji triumph in Olympic qualifier|
|Schalke stunned by ´machine´ Caicara|
|MLS Review: Keane shines at Gerrard´s Galaxy unveiling|
|Counter-attacking the key for Japan|
|Jimenez happy at Atletico|
|Gerrard predicts ´successful future´ with Galaxy|
|Iniesta can´t see Real selling Ramos|
|Keshi sacked as Nigeria coach|
|Three finals, three defeats for Messi, Mascherano|
|Nani close to Fenerbahce move|
|Sampaoli revels in ´unbelievable joy´|
|Bravo: Copa victory a dream|
|Martino: Argentina should have won|
|Chile 0 Argentina 0 (4-1 on penalties): Hosts end trophy drought|
|Germany 0 England 1 (after extra time): England make World Cup history|