The Boys in Green got off to the perfect start under their new manager, putting three unanswered goals past Latvia at the Aviva Stadium
Robbie Keane opened the scoring early on before Aiden McGeady and Shane Long sealed the win in the second-half, and O'Neill is pleased with how his players played. "Delighted with the performance," O'Neill said after the match. "I accept the fact there will be sterner tests ahead, but it was nice to play well and get some goals.
"Just getting that first goal was very important for us. My own view was that after the goal we played in front of them for the next 10 minutes but overall delighted with the team and the fans. It is very early to make assumptions.
"Delighted to win, the players’ enthusiasm was great, but one or two lads remarked that tonight was play-off night and we hadn’t made it. We have lots of hard work ahead of us."
Having previously tutored him at Sunderland, bringing him through into the first team, the new Ireland manager singled out James McClean for praise after the game, while also praising the work done by Wes Hoolahan in the middle of the park. “James McClean got man of the match and played rejuvenated and with confidence," O'Neill said.
"He knows that I have confidence in him. There were a number of decent performances. Hoolahan had some nice touches and has been impressive in training."
Defender John O'Shea captained the side for the last 17 minutes after goalscorer Robbie Keane was taken off, and he echoed his manager's sentiments about the team performance. “It was a positive start," O'Shea admitted. "Very positive, they [O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane] are two natural winners and want the game played the right way.
“They know when we have to work hard and press teams when we have to and play when we have to. We needed a clean sheet and a couple of goals and thankfully we did that tonight. There were plenty of pleasing points and I look forward to a tough game in Poland.”
The Republic of Ireland face Poland in Poznan on Tuesday, November 19.