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The Toffees defender believes that the Boys in Green are improving their performances despite losing 1-0 to Greece at the Aviva Stadium

It wasn’t quite the way in which Giovanni Trapattoni and his young side wanted to end a pretty miserable 2012 but despite suffering their fifth defeat in nine games, Seamus Coleman believes that the Boys in Green are heading in the right direction.

The performance of the Everton full-back was one of few positives to take from the narrow 1-0 defeat to Greece on Wednesday evening and the 24-year-old is optimistic ahead of the next set of World Cup qualifiers which take place in March.

"The result is disappointing but I thought we played some nice football at times and all we were missing was a goal," he told Goal.com.

"I’m happy with my own performance but there’s no point in being happy when the team don’t win. Still, I can take positives. We’re going into the next set of games in March positive, I think we’re going in the right direction."

The Donegal-born defender earned praise from his manager after the game for his display and Coleman is determined to keep his place in the team after waiting in the wings for his opportunity in a green jersey.

"When you get in, you need to stay in and I’ve waited a long time to get into the team. It’s up to me now to do everything I can so the manager will find it hard to leave me out.” He added.

Jose Holebas' 29th-minute strike was enough to separate the sides in a game of few clear cut chances and stand-in captain John O’Shea believes the home side were unlucky not to come out on top and was pleased with the side’s overall performance.

"It's a step forward but we're obviously disappointed," said the Sunderland defender. "For the goal I should have done better, I let him come off just too easy but I think we should have been a couple of goals up by then.

"We had the penalty shout early on and the way we started the game we probably deserved to be ahead but credit to Greece. They haven't been beaten in a few games and they've put in a determined, defensive performance."

Greece boss Fernando Santos was a happy man too after seeing his side claim a lead, and then defend it doggedly.

He said: “We expected a very competitive game between two good teams and in the first 10 minutes, the Irish team tried to surprise us and they managed to do that.

“But after that 10-minute period we managed to keep the ball more and take the initiative in the game. We had some chances to score and we did score a goal.

“But in the second half, it was a completely different game and we had a very good defensive organisation.”

Ireland’s next fixture is against Poland on February 6 2013.

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