Stephen Kenny gave very little away as he spoke to Slovakian media at the official pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night's Euro 2020 play-off, however, he did emphasise that Ireland had travelled with a strong side for this must-win clash.
The manager was questioned on the form of his side following a loss and a draw to Finland and Bulgaria last month, while the home side’s form was also questioned, and it was suggested that it might act as a confidence boost for the travelling Irish.
Likewise, it was pointed out to the Ireland manager that Slovakia were missing several key players going into the game, including Fiorentina defender David Hancko, Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, while Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is not allowed to travel as a result of the entire Napoli side quarantining following positive Covid tests at the Serie A club.
Since the press conference, it has been revealed that Milan Skriniar has also tested positive, which rules him out of the game.
The Inter Milan defender’s positive test came from within the Slovakia camp a day out from the game and could have certain ramifications in relation to close contacts.
"We're just really focused on the game ourselves," said Kenny, at the press conference, which unusually featured no travelling Irish media as a result of Covid restrictions.
"We respect Slovakia. They are a very good team and they're at home.
"But don't underestimate ourselves. We have got some very good players ourselves, so we're looking forward to the game."
"I wouldn't read to much into that," said Kenny in relation to Slovakia’s recent Nations League results where they lost to the Czech Republic and could only manage a draw against Israel.
"It would be foolish to take that as some sort of guide to how this game would go. That's in the past. This game is in the present and I wouldn't read to much into it," said Kenny who stressed that both sides would have been using the games as preparations for the play-off.
Kenny was also asked about the return of Slovakian legend Marek Hamsik, who now plays his football in China, having spent 12 seasons in the Italian top flight with Napoli, while amassing over 100 caps for his country.
"We've looked at Slovakia and they have some good strength in depth, so we're not reading too much into that regarding the missing players.
"We're just focusing on our own performance, really. It's very important that we play well ourselves regardless, and that's our main focus going into this game.
"It's very important to create high standards for ourselves and to try to put in a very, very strong performance."
Shane Duffy joined his manager at the press conference in the absence of Seamus Coleman and the Celtic defender is likely to lead the team out at the National Stadium in Bratislava.
"Everyone wants to be in the big games, this is why we play football," said Duffy. "This is a huge game for our country.
"We don't underestimate any games, but we know how important this game is and it's one we're really looking forward to.
"It's been a long wait for it, but we're really excited and we're ready to go."
Follow Slovakia v Republic of Ireland (Thursday, 7.45pm) via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and the RTÉ News app, watch live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 7pm or listen to live commentary on RTÉ 2fm's Game On.