/ Soccer

Trap happy to stretch unbeaten run

Updated: Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012 23:25

Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli celebrate Ireland's equaliser
Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli celebrate Ireland's equaliser

By Rory Houston

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni was delighted to see his side stretch their unbeaten run to 12 matches after the 1-1 draw with Czech Republic in the Aviva Stadium.

Simon Cox's late goal rescued Ireland after a mixed display, with Milan Baros putting the away side in front in the early stages of the second-half.

Trapattoni said: "I'm not surprised that the Czech Republic played well. We have gone a good direction in the second-half and we deserved to get the draw.

"We started the game well and after three minutes we had a good opportunity that Cech saved. We allowed them one chance but they had no other and in the second half we had more opportunities.

"We changed the game (with second-half substitutes) and brought in fresh energy. I am happy because I am sure we have a team.

"We have an attitude and a mentality that every result is possible. That is a sign of a good team. We knew the type of game that they were going to play."

The Czech Republic enjoyed plenty of possession as Ireland struggled to cope in midfield, despite the hard work of Keith Andrews and Glenn Whelan.

The Ireland manager admitted it was tough for his side, but felt that if the mistake that led to the goal had not occurred, the home side could have managed to get through the game with a clean sheet.

"We couldn't contain them in midfield - they were superior but without the misunderstanding (Baros’ goal) we could have continued in this way. We had the good direction, we didn’t let go our desire and need to be aggressive.

"With the other energy we brought in the second-half, we had more opportunities. In the first-half they dominated us and in second half we had good determination and deserved the draw.

"Results give us confidence. They give us security about our system, mentality and attitude."

Robbie Keane impressed for the Republic with a customary eventful display in attack, showcasing great movement and causing the Czech defence problems.

Petr Cech was forced to deny Keane when the LA Galaxy man controlled the ball brilliantly and shot at goal, and he was instrumental in the majority of the moments of danger Ireland created in the opening period.

Having recently finished a hugely successful loan spell at Aston Villa, Trapattoni feels the move has brought new life to the striker’s career.

"He has a new energy and psychologically he is fresher. I think this switch did him a lot for him because it renewed his self-confidence and it was very good for him. Sometimes a player needs a change of atmosphere."

James McClean was handed his Republic of Ireland debut in the closing moments as Ireland looked to find the goal to secure the draw.

A lively cameo appearance brought some big ovations for the Aviva crowd but Trapattoni would not be drawn on whether McClean will be on the plane to Poland in June.

"It was a reward for him. McGeady and Duff were doing well. But it was important for him. I believe in him and I want to give him the confidence. I called him 10 days ago and said I will play you in the future. We have time to decide (if McClean will feature in Poland)."