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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 19:33 GMT
Staunton happy with winning start
Steve Staunton
Steve Staunton could afford a smile as his team eased to victory
Steve Staunton described the 3-0 victory over Sweden in his first game as Republic of Ireland manager as "a bit of a fairytale".

Damien Duff, new skipper Robbie Keane and Liam Miller scored in Wednesday night's friendly win at Lansdowne Road.

"It's gone better than expected, but what's more pleasing was the performance," he said.

"I thought there were some outstanding individual performances and we saw some lovely hard tackling."

He added: "Their attitude was fantastic and they have set high standards, but hopefully they will go on from here.

"But I know what they are like. They are wonderful players, and they showed us that in the few days we have been together.

"Damien and Robbie led by example, but I can go through the whole team because the lads on the bench played their part in giving those on the pitch their support. It was tremendous, a bit of a fairytale."

It was hard to differentiate between the team heading to Germany in June, and the one that will be watching the World Cup from afar as the Republic were rarely troubled.

Staunton, however, is confident Sweden will give a better account of themselves when the tournament eventually starts.

"After this performance, the sad thing is we haven't qualified for the World Cup," said Staunton.

"We know Sweden are a good side, but we made them look poor, although I am sure they will be a lot better than this at the World Cup.

"I know what it's like going into an away fixture and you see a full house, it's a cold night and there is a bobbly pitch.

"Our lads are used to it, but sometimes the opposition can let it get to them and maybe that's what happened to Sweden.

"But I would like to think our attitude was right and our players played with a passion and commitment that I wanted.

"We certainly gave the supporters something to look forward to. That's what I asked of my players, and that's what I got."

Sweden coach Lars Lagerback felt it was his side's worst showing since he took charge eight years ago, claiming the performance "was a bad day at work".

He added: "I don't think we have had such a day since I started with my first game against Spain.

"If there is eight years between such performances then maybe that is not so bad.

"But credit to Ireland because they showed greater levels of concentration and they were much more aggressive, while we just didn't play as a team."


WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton



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