Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is happy with his team's performance following their 0-0 draw with Sweden in Stockholm, singling out James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman and Paul Green for praise.
Ireland set the tempo with attacking play from the outset in this World Cup qualification Group C encounter and had two early chances to take the lead. "We started very well," Trapattoni told RTE. "The team started with confidence. We deserved the draw, because we changed the team, and some players, and their performance was very good. Particularly McCarthy, also Coleman, I am very happy."
The Boys in Green were equal to their opponents for large parts of the game, and the Italian brought on Wes Hoolahan, Conor Sammon and Andy Keogh late on to try to gain all three points. "The last 30 minutes I thought it was very possible to snatch the winner," Trapattoni admitted. "It was not easy to change, because all players played well, but I tried to force the situation with Hoolahan, and with Sammon, and Keogh. With this freshness, I hoped we could score a goal."
Despite not being selected in Trapattoni's initial starting XI, James McCarthy impressed after coming in for the injured Glenn Whelan. The midfielder linked well with Paul Green, and Trapattoni was happy with their makeshift partnership. "James improves every game," Trapattoni said. "He can do more. Physically he is perfect, technically also, but he is a little bit shy. I said to him 'you must speak to them, you must command the players.' I am happy, because I think he can be a very, very important player for us."
"Paul Green is underestimated in the media, but I think James played very well, but he also had the support of Paul. There is Gattuso, a player like Green. This helps the other player play better because he spares energy. This combination of McCarthy and Green it works very well."
During the week, the double header with Sweden and Austria was billed as a make-or-break period for Giovanni Trapattoni as Ireland manager, but following the draw, the Italian looks set to remain in charge. "We are happy for our jobs, in two years, or three years, we have changed many players," Trapattoni said. Since the squad three years ago, we discovered many, many young players. A new team, a new Ireland.
"This time we have achieved more confidence because of the good result. I always say 'there is show, and there is the result'. Now we have more confidence, especially for the young players. We are happy with this team. Three years ago, we had bigger squad. Now, I have much more difficulty choosing the players."
The Republic of Ireland take on Austria at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday, March 26.