Vera Pauw believes downtime can keep Ireland on the up

Vera Pauw believes downtime can keep Ireland on the up
Ireland caretaker manager Vera Pauw celebrates after the win over Ukriane. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Vera Pauw says her experience of giving players some downtime with their families ahead of matches makes for a happier camp.

And, speaking after her first match at the helm, Ireland’s Dutch manager felt it certainly helped in the build-up to Tuesday’s big 3-2 win over Ukraine at Tallaght Stadium to keep the Girls in Green on course for Euro 2021 qualification.

Goals from skipper Katie McCabe and player-of-the-match Rianna Jarrett had Ireland in command before defensive mistakes gifted Ukraine two soft goals in a rollercoaster first half in Dublin 24.

Pauw calmed her players down at half-time and they got a second-half winner, albeit from an own-goal, to record a deserved win.

Ireland sit second in Group I behind runaway leaders Germany, six points in front of Greece ahead of the sides’ first meeting in Athens next month.

The Ireland squad assembled in the middle of last week, but not before the players went home to visit family and friends.

“It was very important,” said Pauw of the pre-match training camp. “But we started (last) Wednesday, not Monday, because I found that too long.

“After they come back from their clubs they first need to see their family before they dive into the next game. So that, how you say, you can close off one and start with the other.

If you live abroad, and you are young, then you have the urge to see your family first. That’s what we do and that’s what we will do again. Then it’s exactly the right amount of days.

“I said on the afternoon of the game, it would not have been good to have an extra day. They are fresh then. Otherwise you are in camp and have constantly a feeling that you want to go home.

“You need to sleep in your own bed, be in your own environment with your own people. With your partner, with your parents or brothers and sisters or whoever is important for you.

“Then you have a fresh mood to start with. That’s my philosophy.”

Preparations are already underway for the trip to Greece on November 12th with a visit to scout facilities planned.

It’s then a double header in March with Greece at home and a visit to Montenegro before facing the might of Germany for the first time away in April.

All going well, Pauw is targeting the game in Ukraine next June to hopefully seal the runners-up spot.

The best three runners-up in the nine groups qualify automatically for the finals in England. The other six play off.

“The group is built in a way that winning this game means if we beat Greece and Montenegro, which normally we are capable of, even 1-0, then it comes back to the away game against Ukraine,” said Pauw.

“By then we will know what we have to do. It could be that even with one point there you don’t even have to play the play-offs.”

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