Assistant manager Roy Keane says Ireland need to be “streetwise” and be prepared to “take out” their opponents in their final Euro 2016 group clash with Italy on Wednesday.
Ireland are bottom of Group E with just one point after a 1-1 draw with Sweden and a 3-0 defeat by Belgium. The Irish desperately need a victory in Lille to have a chance of reaching the knockout stages.
“My advice would be: ‘Yeah, take them out.’ We’re not here to make friends. The fans will do that. You have got to be streetwise in this game,” Keane was quoted as saying in the British and Irish media.
“From a player’s point of view, if you smell danger and you think: ‘We’re in trouble here,’ then yeah, you do whatever you can to get the right result.”
The former Manchester United midfielder, who had a reputation as a hard man as a player, added: “If that’s a foul, then you foul him. It’s not a crime. You might get a yellow card, you might even get a red but your team might win.
“Sacrifices. You have to make sacrifices for your team. ”
Keane also warned his side to be wary of Italy, who have already secured the top spot in the group after victories over Belgium and Sweden. Ireland last beat Italy in a major competition in a 1-0 victory at the 1994 World Cup.
“To me the Italian team were always favourites to top the group. This idea that it was a surprise they won their first match against Belgium…No,” Keane said.
“They have vast experience from the goalkeeper to the centre-halves to (Daniele) De Rossi in midfield, who I really like. We’ll have to be at our very, very best but we’ve beaten Italy before, so it can be done.