Mick McCarthy admitted his experiment in playing Wolves’ Matt Doherty as a right winger in Ireland’s 1-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Gibraltar didn’t work.
Doherty played as an orthodox right-winger, having spent this season impressing as a right-wing back, while captain Seamus Coleman played right-back in the 1-0 win.
The pair linked up neatly during the first-half, but Doherty made way for Robbie Brady just 11 minutes into the second-half.
“No. It didn’t particularly work well, that,” said the Ireland manager and former Wolves boss when asked about his decision to play the 27-year-old in a more advanced role.
“He’s been the best attacking wing-back in the Premier League to be quite honest, but there’s probably been more room on the pitch.
“When teams are sitting back, has he got the silky skills to go past people? I’m not sure.
“He’s more of a passer and a runner. We did have a little bit of joy down that side in the first-half, but I always thought I might have to put Robbie (Brady) on.”
McCarthy also confirmed Brady was unfit to start having completed 90 minutes just twice for Burnley all season.
“I’m certain Robbie wouldn’t have lasted 90 minutes if I started him,” he added. “But he has a winger’s instincts, rather than a full-back’s.”
While McCarthy refused to make a mountain of the conditions at the foot of the Rock ahead of the game, afterwards he reflected on the artificial pitch and high winds as complicating his side’s job.
“It was a horrible game. I’ve not enjoyed one single minute of it,” he said. “Playing against a team with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“It was a difficult surface, but no excuses, we didn’t play particularly well on it.”
Elsewhere, McCarthy said he and the squad were unaffected by the negative chants regarding now former chief executive John Delaney.
A banner critical of Delaney was flown among the Irish fans during the game, and was accompanied by anti-Delaney chants.
An FAI statement announced Delaney would assume a new role as the association’s executive vice-president.
“No, when fans told me I’m a w****r or I’m getting sacked in the morning it was annoying”, said McCarthy.
“I didn’t realise they knew me that well, to be honest! It didn’t affect me.
“I kept smiling, and then I had that bulge in my pocket at the end – the three points.”
Ireland now prepare for Tuesday’s qualifier against Georgia in Dublin.
Asked if he could promise a better performance in front of a home crowd, he replied, “I’d take the same if we get a 1-0 win. We’ve only got eight games.”