Giovanni Trapattoni insisted on Friday he is the right man to lead Ireland through the World Cup 2014 qualifiers, despite a growing sense of unease among Ireland observers after becoming the first side to be eliminated from Euro 2012.
The 73-year-old Italian was speaking after a downbeat training session, in which most of the players that featured in the 4-0 defeat to defending champions Spain in Thursday's Group C clash took no part.
When asked if he thought he was still the right man to take the team forward, having been humiliated in their first two games (they also lost 3-1 to Croatia), the Italian replied without any hesitation.
"I think that we (him and assistant Marco Tardelli) deserve to stay on," he argued.
"The reason is we have achieved qualification for the first time in 24 years.
"If you read the names of the squad when we came (and read the names in the squad now), you can see how many players we have brought into this team.
"I think it is our right (to stay on). I have enthusiasm to stay, also for you and your colleagues.
"(But I ask you) how much value do you give this team for reaching the euros?
"I know how much I do, I am proud to come here with this team and these players."
Trapattoni signed a two year extension to his contract after Ireland achieved qualification for Euro 2012.
The extension takes him to the end of the World Cup 2014 qualification campaign, in which Ireland must face Germany and Sweden in a tough qualification group.
The conservative Italian has constructed a system that got Ireland through the European Championship qualification campaign, but admits that he may look to make changes at the end of this tournament.
"When we start again, you will know the new faces," he said, without giving anything else away.
"There are one, two or three names on the books.
"We will start again (next) season, but we cannot change all. In Italy we change four or five players, but not here."
The question of managerial responsibility arose during what occasionally became a heated press conference.
What mistakes, if any, did the manager make? Was his system at fault?
"When a team lose, only the manager is to blame," he said, before adding an immediate caveat that pointed the finger at his players.
"But also, we conceded a goal after two minutes and thirty seconds against Croatia, and again a goal after four minutes against Spain.
"It is very difficult against these teams. After those minutes that changes everything, also the system, everything.
"You give the advantage to a strong team, and then it becomes very difficult. This happened with Croatia and happened again against Spain.
"Our players do not have the habit of playing in a tournament like this. We had an attitude in our games that I have not seen in two years (of qualifying)."
Trapattoni promised to make some changes to his starting lineup against Italy but warned against expecting wholesale alterations.
"I can start some of the players of the future against Italy; I have changes in mind, but I can't make three, four or five changes as I might be accused of favouring Italy," he admitted.
"I will also give merit to the team that brought us here, even if I do have changes in mind. I think they deserve to be here."