Giovanni Trapattoni has warned his Republic of Ireland players they take nothing for granted as they look to complete a perfect start to their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign against Andorra.
The Republic returned from Armenia during the early hours of this morning with three points safely banked, although the victory was hard-fought on a night when Vardan Minasyan’s men showed they are not prepared to be the Group B whipping boys.
That status is likely to be afforded to minnows Andorra, who will run out at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday evening on the back of last night’s 2-0 home defeat by Russia.
However, Trapattoni will not allow over-confidence to hamper Ireland’s quest for a second victory, which would cap a good, if not unexpected, start to their mission.
He said: “Sure, we are playing at home and everybody thinks we will win but we have to win, we must win over the 90 minutes against Andorra.
“In the last qualification, Andorra were last in the table, but last night France lost to Belarus and Italy were 1-0 down to Estonia at half-time.
“The world of football today is very, very difficult. Obviously, I think we can win, but we must win.”
Trapattoni is a man who by nature, takes little for granted, and while he was happy to have returned from Yerevan with a victory, he was frank in his assessment of his team’s performance.
He said: “I have had a little time to think about the game and talk about two or three negative situations and other positives.
“Sure, we did not play as well as we did against Algeria or in the second half against Argentina or against France or Italy, but the reasons are easy to see.
“The players have not had many games so far this season and there wasn’t the balance in the team. Also, the weather for us was not ideal.
“But in this situation, the positives are more than the negatives, for example, the performance of Shay Given, and also Robbie Keane.
“Robbie had two very good chances and he hit the post with one of them, and I have seen the television replays and he could also have had a penalty, so we could have won by a bigger score.
“The performance of our defence, who did not allow Armenia to score a goal, was also positive.”
That said, Trapattoni will be looking for a significant improvement on Tuesday evening, not least because of the weather.
Temperatures soared to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Yerevan yesterday and it was not a great deal cooler when the game kicked off.
However, the Ireland squad arrived for training at Gannon Park in Malahide at lunchtime today to be greeted by slate grey skies, wind and rain.
The manager said: “I think we can improve our performance. The weather will help us in this situation.
“It will be 10 or 15 degrees less and we will have had three days to recover, so I am confident.”
Trapattoni is unlikely to make wholesale changes for the game, but could have fresh legs at his disposal.
He took skipper Robbie Keane, who has been nursing a knee injury, off after the goal, but did so simply as a precaution, while Darren O’Dea and Paul McShane could return to contention after shaking off knee and hamstring problems respectively.
But match-winning substitute Keith Fahey, who had replaced Aiden McGeady, may have to wait a little longer to be thrown into the starting line-up.
Asked if he is ready to give the 27-year-old his chance, Trapattoni replied: “Aiden played very well and I changed him because it was the right time, not because of his performance.
“It was a new situation after we scored the goal. But I said before the game, if Aiden was injured, Keith could come in.
“I have confidence in him. He has great personality on the ball and I would not be afraid to give him the opportunity.”