/ Soccer

Andrews wants to finish job in style

Updated: Monday, 14 Nov 2011 14:14

Keith Andrews - 'It sounds mad. It's been a long road, but it's one I have enjoyed'
Keith Andrews - 'It sounds mad. It's been a long road, but it's one I have enjoyed'

By Glenn Mason

Keith Andrews has said the Republic of Ireland are determined to confirm Euro 2012 qualification in style when they host Estonia in the play-off second leg on Tuesday.

<notforsyndication>Watch Republic of Ireland v Estonia live on RTÉ TWO and www.rte.ie on Tuesday 15 November from 7.00pm. </notforsyndication>

The midfielder headed the opening goal to set Ireland on their way to a stunning 4-0 victory in Friday's first leg in Tallinn, which has virtually secured their passage to Poland and Ukraine next summer.

Despite the healthy advantage, Andrews insists the team will be approaching the game with the same determination and focus that has characterised the Giovanni Trapattoni era.

He also acknowledged that the team is aware of how much qualification would mean to the country as it suffers in the age of austerity.

"We want to win the game," said Andrews. "There is hopefully going to be a full house and we want to produce a performance and a result to give the fans something to celebrate.

"I'm sure it was a good night in Dublin on Friday night. The country certainly needs a lift. It has been well documented about the recession and the tough times that people are having.

"We are a nation that always gets behind our teams, no matter what sport it is. It is a special country we have in terms of real togetherness. To give everybody something to look forward to in the summer is very pleasing.

"We can't get too carried away and we have still got a job to do on Tuesday. We want to sign off in style and put on a performance and get the result worthy of the evening. Once that's done, then we can celebrate."

Andrews admitted that the manner of the victory had left most of the squad stunned, even Damien Duff, who had spent most of the week dreaming about the game.

He said: "We have been speaking about it all over the weekend. It is disbelief. To be 4-0 up from the first leg is something we couldn't have dreamed of.

"Duffer was saying on the bus that he had been dreaming about the game all week, but even he didn't dream about 4-0. That's how mad 4-0 would have been. It's been fantastic.

"It was strange after the game. We had won 4-0 but the dressing room and the journey back was very quiet. I don't think it had fully sunk in what had happened. Over the weekend it has sunk in more.

"It's weird that we have made it relatively easy for ourselves. It is not like us at all is it? Normally we make hard work of everything we do, but thankfully on Friday the performance was certainly there."

As well as his third international goal, Andrews also picked up a bang on the nose, which may mean it will have to be reset in the coming weeks, but it will not stop him playing on Tuesday.

The on-loan Ipswich midfielder turned in one of his best games in a green shirt on Friday night and he identified Trapattoni's calmness beforehand as crucial to the team's performance on the pitch.

Andrews said: "The biggest thing … is the way he carries himself. He walks in to a room and he literally owns it. He has got such a presence about him for such a small man. He is very good in terms of keeping things calm.

"On Friday when we were having our meetings about the game and people were nervous and itching to get going with the game he was such a claming influence around the place. The experience that he has is obviously second to none."

However, Trapattoni's famous attention to the little details in highlighting Estonia's attacking threats did cause some anxiety.

"We were laughing after the game because the analysis that we had of them we were scared stiff of them because the shots they were having from distance in the clips," said Andrews.

"We weren't keen on them getting over the halfway line because they have some talented players when you let them shoot. He really picks holes in the opposition and prepares us right for games."

Another manager to earn Andrews' praise was Paul Ince, who took him from the fourth tier of English football with MK Dons to Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League.

Andrews said: "It's been a long road but it is one that I have enjoyed. My time in League Two was probably the turning point in my career.

"Paul Ince came in and we really struck it off. He was fantastic for me and gave me a chance then to go to Blackburn and kick on with my career.

"This is something I have dreamt of as a boy, but once you get to a stage where you are playing in League Two at 25 you think those chances are gone. It really is a dream."

Anything less than a massive upset on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium will mean that Andrews' dreams will become reality.