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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 22:56 GMT
Staunton praises Republic spirit
Steve Staunton after San Marino's equaliser on Wednesday night
Steve Staunton shows the strain on Wednesday evening
Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton says his side displayed "tremendous fighting spirit" to beat San Marino 2-1 and move to third in Euro 2008 Group D.

"We controlled the game from start to finish and could have scored six or seven but we were sloppy at the back.

"We should have been three or four up at the break but didn't put away our chances so we need to be more ruthless.

"We had four chances after they scored and thankfully scored one. We have two big games to look forward to at home."

The Republic boss argued that "San Marino were always going to improve as the group went on" despite the minnows having conceded 25 goals in their first three qualifying matches.

"The lads are disappointed with the performance but I am delighted to get the three points with two matches at Croke Park to come."

Goalscorer Kevin Kilbane conceded he was "very disappointed" and added that the Republic players got "the fright of their lives".

"There are a lot of things we can learn from that. We didn't pass the ball well and it is up to the older players like myself to bring the younger lads through.

"After the first goal it would have been nice to go on and score a few more but a horrendous mistake at the back almost cost us dear.

"I can understand why the supporters are not happy because the players are not happy with performances like that and we have to improve a lot."

The Wigan player refused to lay the blame at the feet of manager Staunton, saying that the players had to take responsibility.

"The players have to go out there and give a good account of ourselves but we didn't do that and didn't bring any credit to the manager or ourselves.

"We wanted to put on a show and give ourselves some confidence for the two games at Croke Park but at least we got the win and it is back to the drawing board now."

San Marino 1-2 Rep of Ireland
07 Feb 07 |  Internationals


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