The Serbian captain admitted that his side started sloppily but after a half-time talk from the former Porto star they managed to overcome an underwhelming IrelandLjubinko Drulovic’s Serbia side made amends for their slow start against Ireland in Dublin with two goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half in the former Porto winger's first game in temporary charge.
An own goal from Everton’s James McCarthy and a fourth international strike for 26-year-old Nantes striker Filip Djordjevic gave Serbia a come-from-behind win.
Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic revealed that the interim boss gave his side some timely advice at the break: “At half-time the manager told us to start to pass the ball, keep playing and creating the chances and we scored the goals in the second half, which was important for us as a team and I hope we’re going to go on like this in the start of the [Euro] qualifiers," he told reporters.
“We started the game with a little bit more respect than we need for this kind of game, because we know what quality Ireland has with players.”
He added: “I think this was a little bit of a shock for us in the beginning [and made] us a little bit confused and after that we played hard and kept going and try to win the game. We used our chances and after that it was much easier for us to control the passing and the game.”
Ivanovic hailed Ireland forward Shane Long but admitted he could have done better to deny the Irish goal scorer in the first half. Long, who was also on target for former club West Brom against Ivanovic’s Chelsea in a 2-2 Premier League draw last November, took advantage of a weak backpass from the Serbian skipper to put Ireland 1-0 ahead inside the first 10 minutes.
The 30-year-old admitted to reporters that he should have done better. “[Shane’s] a great player and you can see it’s very difficult to play against him but I think I [didn’t have a] performance like all the season tonight and this is something I’m disappointed in myself,” he revealed.
“We started very sloppy, we conceded a couple of chances and it wasn’t a good start for us but after that we conceded a goal from my mistake, it was a shock for all the team and we didn’t adapt well after that situation.”