Date:Friday September 29 2006
Giovanni Trapattoni, the coach of Salzburg has paid tribute to Blackburn Rovers following their defeat of his Austrian side, saying, among other things "they have a very good chance of going all the way to the final."
Trapattoni has lead sides to glory in all three European competitions, including the old Cup Winners Cup (with this tournament scrapped teams who would have qualified for this now enter the UEFA Cup), winning the UEFA Cup on three occasions. Below is a history of the Italian's European accomplishments:
European Cup:1984-1985 (Juventus)
UEFA Cup: 1976-1977 & 1992-1993 (Juventus) and 1990-1991 (Inter Milan)
Cup Winners Cup: 1983-1984 (Juventus)
As you can see, as well as being a European Cup runner up with Turin giant Juventus in 1982-1983, with whom he would win all three European competitions he has won everything he could wish to win on the European stage, including the 1984 European Super Cup and the 1985 Intercontinental Cup in his long and distinguished career, as well as every domestic honour available in Italy, and Championships in Germany (as well as the German Cup) and Portugal.
However, following his sides defeat at Ewood Park yesterday evening, still leaving veteran 67-year-old Italian coach searching for his first ever victory on English soil against an English opponent in a European competition he would pay tribute to Mark Hughes and his team, as well as backing them to go far in the competition:
"After 180 minutes our opponents deservedly went through.
"We had a chance early on but after that Blackburn deserved their victory.
"We went with an offensive attitude and strategy with two attackers, but we weren't as strong a team as Blackburn were with Nonda and McCarthy up front and Pedersen and Bentley on the wings, they were convincingly better.
"I congratulated Mark Hughes downstairs and I said go on and win the UEFA Cup. The UEFA Cup is a very strong tournament there are a lot of strong teams in the UEFA Cup, but I think that if Blackburn has a good open attitude and continue playing as they do, they have a very good chance of going all the way to the final."
Great to hear such words from such a legend of the European game, and a man, who had he got his way could have worked alongside Hughes. Trapattoni was linked to a vacant post with Tottenham Hotspur a few years back, and would single out Hughes as the man he would want to work alongside him.
Meanwhile David Bentley, the man who scored Rovers' second goal, ultimately the goal that put the tie beyond much doubt with his fantastic 35-yard volley high into the roof of the net, has come in for praise of his own from Hughes:
"David has got that sort of capability. He's a young man who hasn't a lot of top flight experience, certainly not European experience and is still learning his trade.
"He's been a big player for us since the beginning of the season and his goal capped a great performance. He has the ability to do that and I'm delighted for him."
One point of worry will be the yellow card picked up by the England U21 International. Somewhat harsh for his goal celebration, but nonetheless that makes four cautions in his eight matches this season, and his second in Europe, which unless the format has been changed to three bookings, I think could well lead to his suspension?
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Date:Friday September 29 2006
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