Vera Pauw has hit back after her tactical approach with Ireland came under fire last week

Vera Pauw has hit back after her tactical approach with Ireland came under fire last week

THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND WOMEN'S manager Vera Pauw has defended her tactical approach with Ireland after a column in the Irish Times titled, ‘Can Vera Pauw’s team advance at the World Cup? Not with the current approach’ was published last week. 

Ireland under Pauw have been seen as a pragmatic side to say the least, but Ireland's way of playing helped them reach their first ever major tournament last November.  

Former Ireland international Karen Duggan wrote in her column that Ireland's current approach would not get them out of a group containing the likes of Australia, Canada and Nigeria next July.  

"Qualification was the easy part. For Ireland to escape a group containing Australia, Canada and Nigeria, a difficult choice is needed – do we want to see an ambitious Irish side perform above themselves at their first major tournament or is the secure approach enough,"said the former Ireland player. 

"It’s not a trick question. Every successful team requires both traits, of course, but one must trump the other if reaching the knockout stages is a realistic goal." 

The article also went on to say that Ireland's star performers Katie McCabe and Denise O'Sullivan should be allowed to express themselves next year 

"Free McCabe and to a lesser extent O’Sullivan. Play them as a fluid number 10 and number 8," Duggan added. 

This comes weeks after Ireland's drab 0-0 draw with China PR in Spain.  

Pauw responded to the article in question by Duggan at Sky’s International Women’s Day Panel Event on Wednesday.  

"Of course, I’m a bit disappointed, especially hearing it from a player who has retired,” Pauw said.  

“I’m sure if you’ve enough insight in the game you think hmm. For example, Denise and Katie being too far away from each other. They are probably too close to each other, because Denise is literally five metres away from Katie. So actually, it is the opposite. 

“If you play 5-4-1 you need to grasp and you need to develop the play in between the lines, especially the sitters need to stay deep. We were discussing that maybe we need to find a moment to explain confidentially what we are actually doing, the technical part of it, with the board and video. 

Pauw also went onto to say that changing Ireland's style dramatically could be a disaster for the Girls in Green in Australia next year.  

"Finding a balance is key. Going too attacking could lead to a disastrous World Cup. “How would I say this? If you open yourself up and you could lose 5-0,” Pauw went onto to say.  

Ireland starts their World Cup adventure against the co-hosts Australia on July 20.  

They then play Canada on July 26.  

Ireland will then end the group against Nigeria July 31.