Martin O’Neill remains adamant that both tackles that hit the headlines on Friday night were “very, very poor”.
Republic of Ireland managed a 0-0 draw in Dublin against Wales in a match which will be remembered for two horrible challenges which left Seamus Coleman with a broken leg and John O’Shea with seven stitches.
Coleman’s campaign is in tatters after he was caught high by Neil Taylor in an over-the-ball tackle, while O’Shea was caught high and late by Wales’ star man Gareth Bale.
While Taylor was dismissed for his challenge, Bale, whose tackle was arguably worse than Taylor’s, was only booked for his seconds earlier.
Wales boss Chris Coleman defended his players – indeed, he said Bale wanted to appeal against his caution, something he could only do on the grounds of mistaken identity – but O’Neill remains adamant that both tackles were nasty.
He said: “I thought both challenges when I have seen them back have been very, very poor. Very poor indeed.”
Coleman though is already looking to the future as he sets out on the long road to recovery from his horrific double leg fracture.
The Republic of Ireland skipper remains in hospital in Dublin after undergoing surgery on Saturday morning to pin the broken tibia and fibula in his right leg.
Manager Martin O’Neill visited Coleman on Sunday and, while he revealed the 28-year-old is understandably down as he comes to terms with what will be a lengthy lay-off, he is taking a pragmatic approach to his recovery.
Asked about his own emotions as Coleman lay in agony on the pitch in the aftermath of the incident, O’Neill said: “The first reaction is that you know you have lost a great player for a start.
“You know the sort of pain that he’s going to be going through, obviously the immediate pain and then his recovery.
“It’s a major blow, not only for the player, but obviously for his family, people who were at the game watching that.
“But as Seamus mentioned to me the other day, he just said that it has happened now, he can’t do anything about it and it’s what he does now in the next few months that is very, very important.
“I think he’s just beginning to come to terms with it. I saw him yesterday and he’s still pretty down about it. He’s not in as much pain, the operation went very well and it’s just a matter of coming to terms with it.”
The injury cast a pall over the game, and Tuesday night’s friendly against Iceland, with O’Neill admitting Coleman’s absence from the camp has been felt keenly.
He said: “Even the result on Friday evening was secondary. It’s a bad blow for the player, who has been terrific for us. He’s having a wonderful season at Everton and he has been missed around the place over the last couple of days too.
“I think he’s very positive and he will get into recovery mode as quickly as possible and then it’s up to him.”
Doctors have as yet been unable to put any time frame on Coleman’s recovery amid speculation that he will be out of action for at least six months.
But O’Neill is hoping he will return as good as ever having seen former Celtic striker Henrik Larsson bounce back from a similar injury.
He said: “Before I went to Celtic, about five or six months before that, Henrik Larsson had a very serious injury and he recovered magnificently and the injury didn’t bother him again from then until the end of his career, so players have recovered.
“Great players have broken their legs and come back, and Seamus, obviously it’s very early for him to start considering all those things, but he is positive.
“Naturally, as I mentioned earlier at the start, he’s down, as he would be as the realisation that he is going to be out of action for quite some considerable time has dawned on him, so those type of things don’t just take five minutes to get over.
“But he’s very strong, he’s got a lot of good people around him, his family is very, very strong as well and he is positive that he will be back and as good as ever.”