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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 March 2007, 17:41 GMT
Staunton relief obvious after win
Robbie Keane (left) and Steve Staunton after Saturday's game
Staunton's team face Slovakia at Croke Park on Wednesday
Republic of Ireland boss Steve Staunton's relief was obvious after his side's 1-0 victory over Wales in Saturday's Euro 2008 qualifier.

Under-pressure Staunton acknowledged that his team's second-half display at Croke Park had strained his nerves.

"We failed to keep the ball when we got it in the second half which made it difficult for ourselves," he said.

"But all we could do was win the game. We've done that and we'll now prepare for Wednesday (against Slovakia)."

Stephen Ireland's first-half goal was enough for the Republic and Staunton pointed out that the Manchester City youngster has now scored three goals in his last four internationals.

"Not bad. Most strikers would settle for that," added the Republic manager.

I know the next performance will be a lot better

Steve Staunton

"I started him on the right but then I swapped him and Damien (Duff)."

When asked about his team's failure to put a poor Welsh side to the sword in the second half, Staunton replied:"We beat them. That's it.

"It gives us another platform to improve on this performance going into Wednesday night.

"I know the next performance will be a lot better."

Goalscorer Ireland said he was "over the moon" to become the first player to score an international goal at Croke Park.

"Yesterday, Stan (Steve Staunton) said in his press conference that I have a knack of popping up in the box to score," said Ireland.

We all pulled together and it was a good team performance

Stephen Ireland

The Manchester City player acknowledged that he had not been "comfortable" playing on the right side of midfield before his switch with Damien Duff during the first half.

"But they swapped me and Duffer over. It was a bit of a tactical change and I got through for the goal."

Ireland felt the bumpy Croke Park pitch had not been ideal but still claimed that the Republic had played "some good football".

"The fans got behind us and pushed us on hard. Everyone was determined to win and we all pulled together and it was a good team performance."

Ireland was forced off because of a groin injury in the second half and manager Staunton said afterwards that the Manchester City player could join suspended Robbie Keane in being ruled out of Wednesday's game against Slovakia.

However, Ireland said that he was "hopeful of being alright for Wednesday".



SEE ALSO
Rep of Ire 1-0 Wales
24 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Toshack bemoans lack of an edge
24 Mar 07 |  Internationals
International photos
24 Mar 07 |  Football


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