Giovanni Trapattoni has insisted he deserves to lead the Republic of Ireland into the World Cup qualifying campaign despite their poor showing at Euro 2012.
The 73-year-old Italian offered a defiant defence of his reign less than 24 hours after a 4-0 drubbing by reigning champions Spain confirmed Ireland's early exit from the competition.
But amid criticism of his selection policy and the performances against both Croatia and the Spaniards, Trapattoni, who was awarded a new two-year deal in the wake of the Republic's qualification for the tournament, was adamant he and his coaching team were going nowhere.
He said: "I think we deserve [to stay]. We have a reason because we achieved qualification after 24 years.
"If you read the names when we came, see how many players are still in this team and how many players are still in the others.
"That is our right to stay. I have more enthusiasm to stay than you and your colleagues. The Irish people can decide.
"The people yesterday at 3-0 were still applauding, our people, and we must be proud. I repeated today to the players, we must be proud of this country and four our supporters.
"I know your jobs, after 40 years, I know the job of the reporter."
Trapattoni and his players will attempt to end their all-too-brief involvement in Poland and Ukraine with victory over the manager's native Italy in Poznan on Monday night, and he will then turn his attention to the task of taking the nation to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
He will do so amid speculation that some of his senior players may decide the time has come to retire from the international stage.
Goalkeeper Shay Given is the elder statesman in a group of thirty-somethings which also includes central defender Richard Dunne, midfielder Damien Duff and skipper Robbie Keane, although Trapattoni revealed he has had no indication yet that any of them intend to call it a day.
He said: "At this moment, nobody has to me that they wish to retire. Maybe, but I don't know. I know our captain is proud.
"I don't know, but I think not. We can decide. At this moment, we have a squad which is good enough to continue in this new campaign."
Ireland, so competitive in qualification, have failed to scale the same heights in Poland, admittedly in the face of stern opposition from the Croatians and in particular Spain, who were simply too strong for them.
Trapattoni admitted in the immediate aftermath of a game in which they once again conceded during the opening minutes that his players had been shackled by a fear and a tension he had not seen in them before, and his opinion had not changed after a second viewing of proceedings at the PGE Arena in Gdansk.
He said: "Usually when I lose, I don't sleep. I watched the game again and Spain were very, very strong, they were superior to us in every position on the pitch.
"Maybe, maybe it was the impact of the Euros. It's not a friendly, it's not a qualifier, it's very, very different.
"Many teams have players who play in the Champions League, play for their national teams, play in the Europa League - they have the habit, they have personality. It is clear.
"Some of our players don't have the habit to play in this international game because they sometimes are on the bench and sometimes play [for their clubs].
"But we have these players and I am proud to have these players. We achieved qualification with these players and I must have respect for these players because they achieved this after 24 years.
"I can't say, 'You are not able'. I can say, 'You can, you can'. That is my duty."
Trapattoni, who defended his decision to deploy striker Simon Cox in a midfield role, something he abandoned at half-time, hinted he may make further changes for the Italy game.
However, he will not do so to the extent that he could be accused of opening the door for his own country to rescue themselves by handing them the victory they need to challenge for qualification.
He said: "If we change now and suppose Italy beat Ireland, what do you think Spain and the other teams would say? That I maybe made it easy because I changed two or three players.
"You know the first rule of the manager? The manager must put on the pitch the strongest team, that is the number one rule.
"Maybe I will make changes, but not one, two, three, four, five."