Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane was at his uncompromising best when he claimed that he wanted to “kill” a number of his side’s players after their defeat to Belarus on Tuesday.
Their 2-1 reverse in Cork was only the second defeat Martin O’Neill’s outfit have suffered in 14 matches, although it was hardly the ideal sign off prior to Euro 2016. Ireland play Sweden in their opening match of the tournament on 13 June.
“I wanted to kill some of them,” said Keane. “They should count their blessings they’ve managed to get on the flight. It’s a reality check for one or two players who thought they were good players.”
No-nonsense former Manchester United skipper Keane also laid bare the level of commitment he expects from players, claiming there is something amiss if they’re completely injury-free.
“I’m worried when players aren’t carrying knocks,” he added. “You’re supposed to carry knocks because you’re supposed to tackle people, you’re supposed to hit people at pace and hit them hard.
“It’s part of the game. It’s not chess we’re playing. Every time you get a knock, you don’t have to take painkillers, have two days’ recovery or sit in the pool for an hour and a half. It’s a man’s game we’re playing, believe it or not.”
There was also a stark warning from Wales boss Chris Coleman, whose side face England in Lens on 16 June but have failed to record victory since October when they beat minnows Andorra to seal qualification to the tournament.
“Since we qualified, if you look at our results, it is nothing to shout about,” he said. “I’m not making any excuses. Sometimes with success comes a little bit of complacency. Subconsciously sometimes.”