Giovanni Trapattoni feels that the Republic of Ireland should be proud to compete with Sweden and Austria because of the contrast in their domestic leagues.

The Ireland manager was speaking at his pre-match press conference this afternoon and said that superior leagues in rival countries give them an advantage over the Republic.

He said: “I repeat we are proud because before the (Sweden) game we were in the same position with Sweden and Austria.

“In Ireland there is no league. Our players play in England. In Sweden and Austria there is a league.

“That is different. Maybe you do not know, but I know this.

“I was in other countries as a manager and it is different. When every game and every Sunday, there is a game in a league, it is different."

Robbie Keane, meanwhile, expressed bemusement at the outcry for a change in tactics from the Ireland boss.

Keane made his debut for the Republic over 15 years ago and admitted Ireland have not had a Plan B throughout his entire international career.

He said: "We talk about Plan A and Plan B and all crap like that. Ireland have never had a Plan B, we have had Plan A and that is it.

"It is as simple as that and we always played the exact same way since I have been in the squad. We don't have the personnel to be like Spain and get the ball down and have 80% possession against teams.

"We are just not that team. We know our strengths and we stick to it. Unless it changes from grass roots, it isn't going to change for a good few years.

"They keep talking in England about trying to change things and make their international team a lot better. In Ireland we need to do that as well but is it going to change straight away?

"It hasn't changed since I walked in that door from the first day I got here. It isn't going to change for a while."