Ray Houghton believes that the Republic of Ireland have finally found their feet under Stephen Kenny after two dominant performances in the space of four days.
Ireland followed up Saturday's 3-0 World Cup qualifier win in Azerbaijan with a 4-0 friendly thrashing of Qatar at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday as Callum Robinson took his tally to five goals in two games.
"It was refreshing to watch them last night," former international Houghton told RTÉ Sport, adding that he thought the performance was the best Ireland have produced since Kenny took charge last year.
"The attitude of the players was absolutely spot on. A good win on Saturday but a really tough journey home, eight hours, so they didn't have a lot of time to refresh themselves. But they went about it in the right way.
"The passing and movement was good, the decision-making on passing out from the back, which they didn’t do as often as previous games and got the ball forward.
"Everyone is being responsible in possession, everyone looks confident.
"We hadn't been scoring enough goals but seven goals and two clean sheets, that’s what you need.
"You’ve got to build on that now, carry it on to Portugal next month and Luxembourg as well."
Houghton highlighted hat-trick hero Robinson - the first Irish player to bag a hat-trick since Robbie Keane in 2014 - and Jeff Hendrick as the standout performers.
"It's amazing at times how situations like that (the vaccination controversy) spur you on and you start to prove yourself," he said of West Brom man Robinson.
"His all-round game last night was really good. His third goal, he came short, wanting to get involved in the build-up play and realised that it wasn’t for him.
"Then he spun in behind the back line and that gave Hendrick the opportunity to play that lovely through ball.
What a fantastic goal! Callum Robinson slides home to complete his hat-trick after a lovely Ireland move.— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) October 12, 2021
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"His movement for that goal really showed you what a quality striker should be doing. We haven’t seen that anywhere near enough in the previous games but after the win on Saturday, something has clicked.
"Our midfielders were very prominent and obviously in Robinson up front we’ve got someone who’s really on form. Confident and scoring goals.
"It was also the best I’ve seen Jeff Hendrick play in a long time, if not ever, for Ireland. He was absolutely outstanding. His movement was good, he got up close to the striker, won the ball back, his passing was excellent.
"The one where he set up Robinson for his third goal, that’s the sort of pass that we’ve been missing in the previous games under Stephen Kenny.
"I take into account the opposition were poor but we were very good."
Ireland captain Shane Duffy told RTÉ Sport that the players had always had full confidence in the manager but that it was satisfying to win back-to-back games for the first time since Kenny began his tenure in September 2020.
"I think everyone can see that we’re building and it’s getting there," said the Brighton defender, who scored Ireland's fourth. "It’s two good results this week.
"Full belief. It’s really enjoyable to play. We’ve had really good performances but not getting the results and this week we’ve had both.
"It’s really pleasing to see. The manager puts a lot of work into it and he has taken a lot of stick but we’ve all believed in it so it’s really nice when it comes off.
"That’s the standard now and we’ve got two big games next month so we’re looking forward to that already."