Giovanni Trapattoni has dismissed suggestions that he was too loyal to senior members of his Republic of Ireland squad during their disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.
Captain Robbie Keane, 31, and 36-year-old goalkeeper Shay Given, the nation's two most-capped players, were unable to produce their best form and the veteran Italian was criticised by the Irish media and pundits for failing to make changes to his starting XI in the final two group games.
Ireland lost all three of their games to Croatia, Spain and Italy and scored a solitary goal as they exited the tournament with the joint worst goal difference record in European Championship finals history.
Trapattoni said: "When you do your job well - until now, I think they have played well for our country, and we must have a reason.
"In your job, when you get old, if they gave you a pension and say 'go' without respect, what would you think?
"It's not loyalty only, it's correct. We asked them (on Monday) for a good performance and we played very well. We played at the same level as Italy.
"We need a reason to change it on the pitch. (Aiden) McGeady played well, (Kevin) Doyle played well, also Robbie.
"It's not loyalty, it's respect because they helped us to achieve qualification and we must give them the honour of playing.
"You are not sure that if you make changes, the result will be any different. It's 50-50. When you are sure, you can change, but only after the 90 minutes can you be sure that the change is good.
"Until now is has been good, and I can't just turn the page and forget about it. It's not professional, it is not correct."