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Trap relieved Berba is unavailable
Published : 24 Mar 2009 20:45:00Rss feed
Giovanni Trapattoni is relieved Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov will not have the chance to dent the Republic of Ireland's World Cup dreams.The 28-year-old Manchester United striker is out of Saturday's Group Eight qualifier, in which unbeaten Ireland will attempt to secure a fourth win in five attempts, with an ankle injury.Trapattoni knows opposite number Stanimir Stoilov still has other dangerous players at his disposal, but is happy one of his potential match-winners is not available for the match at Croke Park.The Italian said: "Players like that can get into the game in a split-second and turn it completely."For me, it is better they are out because they have the possibility to create."Berbatov is a very, very important player, but in my experience, you cannot afford to just think about one player."Bulgaria are a strong team and they have other strong players. We cannot think it is an easy game because they are missing Berbatov."They have other very, very important players. They have [Stiliyan] Petrov, [Ivelin] Popov, [Blagoy] Georgiev - they are very, very important players."But the most important thing is our mentality and our performance."Ireland have collected 10 points to date by completing a double over Georgia, beating Cyprus in Dublin and claiming a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Montenegro.That has left Italy top of the group only on goal difference, and Marcelo Lippi's side face a tough trip to Montenegro at the weekend before entertaining the Irish in Bari next Wednesday in a game which could have a major say in who finishes at the top of the table.Trapattoni knows just how big a week or so it could be, although he is equally well aware his side's fate will not be decided on the results of these two games alone.He said: "These two games are very, very important games, but the qualifiers have a long way to go."These games will really test our psychological and mental strength as well."In many ways, the Bulgaria game could be the more significant of the two as a victory for the Republic would take them 10 points clear of the side which it was felt would mount the most serious challenge to them and the Italians for the top two spots.To that end, Trapattoni will hope to be able to field his strongest team, although he does have two injury doubts with Manchester City goalkeeper Shay Given and Celtic winger Aiden McGeady not training with their team-mates at Malahide on Tuesday.McGeady has a minor knock, but has joined up with the party, while Given, who has a shoulder problem, is expected to arrive on Wednesday, and their manager is hopeful both will be available for Saturday.He said: "We are missing Shay Given and Aiden McGeady. Their injuries need to be checked."But tomorrow, they will be with us and I hope they will be ready for Saturday."At the moment, Shay's shoulder is a little bit sore, but I spoke to him and he assured me he is going to be here and he is going to play."Trapattoni will look to complete a hat-trick of successes for his adopted nation on Saturday after Ireland's Six Nations Grand Slam and boxer Bernard Dunne's WBA super bantamweight triumph hours later.He said: "I wish to congratulate my colleague [Ireland rugby union coach] Declan Kidney for the great success, and also world champion Bernard Dunne."Their successes are great new for us also, and we hope to follow in their footsteps."
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