Damien Duff was left uninspired after Ireland fell to a 2-0 loss against France on Monday night.
Joining Richie Sadlier on punditry duty on RTÉ the two former players felt the team are better than what the fans have seen in recent times.
Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir scored the goals for France amid a Parisian downpour at the Stade de France.
Duff and Sadlier were pleased to see a number of debutants play, but felt the same concerns emerged as in previous games.
"It's same old same old," bemoaned the former Chelsea winger.
"We're compact, organised - two silly goals we gave away. But going forward, you'd just love to see us keep the ball a bit better. A bit more composure.
"If we are told to hit it long then I think even midfielders...you stop even making angles. If you are always looking on, you know it's bypassing you. Wingers as well, you know it's bypassing you."
Duff feels the team has the quality to keep the ball better and wanted to see that on show in the Nations Cup.
Sadlier added that they and fans didn't expect a completely different style of play but just improvements.
"There are so many examples, not just tonight - this isn't a criticism of a team that can't outplay a French midfield - but it's the same patterns of play that we've seen.
"We work really really hard to stay compact. Work really really hard to avoid being opened up at the back. Huge amount of effort, huge amount of concentration, communication between everyone.
"That part of the game is sometimes outstanding. But then when we win it back...
"We almost undo all that work by cheaply giving it away almost immediately a huge amount of the time."
Next up for Ireland is another friendly against the United States on Saturday, June 2, in Dublin.
John O'Shea is set to join the squad this week ahead of his final game for Ireland, while Shaun Williams - who made his senior debut against France - has left the camp to prepare for his wedding.