Current coach Giovanni Trapattoni is under pressure but is refusing to quit.
Former Sunderland, Aston Villa and Celtic boss Martin O’Neill is the clear favourite to replace Giovanni Trapattoni in the Republic of Ireland hot seat.
The Daily Mail claim O’Neill, who has been out of work since leaving Wearside in March, has emerged as the leading candidate to take over from 74-year-old after Ireland fell to a devastating 2-1 home defeat to Sweden on Friday night to crush their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil next year.
Trapattoni agreed to take a pay-cut after a dreadful Euro 2012 campaign but is refusing to walk out on his £1 million-a-year contract, which is due to expire next June, despite the remote possibility of snatching a play-off spot in Group C.
It’s believed the Football Association of Ireliand want the legendary Italian coach out now and are keen to install O’Neill, a native of Northern Ireland, as their new manager.
However, assistant manager Marco Tardelli launched a committed defence of the former Italy and AC Milan coach.
“One year ago, the people who are criticising Giovanni now were very happy with Giovanni,” he told The World Game.
“Football is so. We haven’t a problem because we understand that our job has been very strong. For me, it is very positive.”
Ireland travel to Vienna to face Austria on Tuesday night and can still technically qualify as runners-up to runaway leaders Germany, whom they face in Munich next month, but have their opponents and the Swedes standing in their way, and Trapattoni admitted they are playing for third.