Martin O’Neill was “harshly treated” during his exit from the Ireland job and deserved “another crack of it”, according to his assistant Roy Keane.
Keane, who was speaking at the Off The Ball Cadbury Roadshow at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, added that he still misses working with O’Neill in the Irish set-up.
“Anytime I’ve left my job – even lost my job – I’ve never been upset. Martin and myself with the Irish job, I loved every minute of it.
“I do think we deserved another crack of it and people still say to me: 'sorry it didn’t work out with Ireland'. It did.
"We had two proper campaigns, we qualified, we got to a play-off. If every Ireland manager did that Irish football would be in a decent place."
The former Ireland captain added that O'Neill was subject to unfair criticism during the final days of his reign as Ireland manager.
O'Neill and Keane departed their management roles in November of 2018 after Ireland were relegated from Nations League B without winning a game, while managing just one win in their eleven final games.
"Whatever about myself, Martin was harshly treated, there is no doubt about that.
"There was a lot of negativity and spin out there and when we were missing the players that we were. Trust me – and I've watched Irish football since I was a kid – Ireland are going to hit a sticky patch because there is a real lack of quality at the moment, nevermind when you are missing Séamus [Coleman] or Robbie Brady or one or two important players.
"So, when you do hit that sticky patch you are hoping that people will stick with you. But nine times out of 10 people will panic and they will make a decision that you might think is unfair.
"But that's, and I keep repeating myself, but that's life. That's the industry that we are in."
While Keane said he doesn't feel sadness when leaving a job in football, he did speak with an undeniable longing for the Irish job and working with O'Neill.
"The stuff we had with Ireland – and I still miss the Irish job, I loved it. I loved the buzz of the games, I miss working with the players.
"I love working with Martin, I think Martin [is] a brilliant manager, a really good guy.
"We had some great days. The one or two games [Bosnia, Germany, Italy] you've mentioned, they were up there with a lot of the highlights of my career especially when it's your country and the trips we had."
Off The Ball were in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre with Roy Keane and Gary Neville with thanks to Cadbury, who are celebrating their third year as 'Official Snack Partner' to the Premier League.