Trapattoni happy with performance

Giovanni Trapattoni was a satisfied man after seeing his Republic of Ireland team fight back to claim a hard-fought draw with the Czech Republic.

Giovanni Trapattoni was a satisfied man after seeing his Republic of Ireland team fight back to claim a hard-fought draw with the Czech Republic.

It took an 86th-minute equaliser from substitute Simon Cox to deny the Czechs a victory over which Ireland could have had few complaints.

But in the event, Trapattoni's men extended their unbeaten run to 12 games despite never finding their best form on the night, and that alone pleased the 72-year-old Italian.

He said: "We had an opportunity to look at other players, but also look at the result because that gives us confidence and gives us security about our system and attitude.

"I am happy because I didn't think it would be a walk in the park. This [Czech Republic] is a strong team, they have very young and important players playing across Europe."

After a lively start by the home side in which keeper Petr Cech had saved from both Shane Long and Robbie Keane, the visitors gradually assumed control in Dublin.

However, with Shay Given in fine form to deny first Jiri Stajner and then Jan Rezek, they had to wait until five minutes after the break to make the pressure tell.

Rezek turned provider to pick out Milan Baros in space inside the penalty area, and his finish as Given came to meet him was assured.

Ireland, for whom skipper Keane played in a withdrawn role behind Long until both were replaced with 19 minutes remaining, rallied as time ran down with Czech manager Michal Bilek making wholesale changes, and they finally dragged themselves back into the game with four minutes remaining through Cox.

Keith Andrews slid the ball into the West Brom striker's path and he cut inside defender Tomas Sivok before beating Cech at his near post.

Trapattoni said: "We had a good reaction in the second half with personality, and we didn't let go of our willingness to play and be aggressive.

"They dominated us and we had a good reaction and deserved to get the draw. We increased our pressing and I am happy at the moment in the belief."

Trapattoni made no apologies for refusing to experiment with either his team or his system in what was their finally friendly before they meet up in May to start preparations for the Euro 2012 finals.

However, he was happy with Keane's contribution in a slightly different role, and believes his captain's loan spell at Aston Villa has been of significant benefit.

He said: "This evening and in training, he has a new energy and psychologically, he looks fresh.

"He played very well this evening and I think the switch did him a lot of good."

The cheer which greeted the equalising goal was matched only by that sparked by Sunderland winger James McClean's introduction as a 79th-minute substitute.

McClean said: "It was goosebumps, it was a tremendous reception. It's an honour to play for my country and something I have dreamed of growing up as a fan.

"That reception is something that will be with me for the rest of my life."

Trapattoni appeared to indicate on Tuesday that the chances of any emerging players forcing their way into his plans for the summer were remote, and the fact that McClean was handed just 11 minutes and Shane Duffy remained on the bench tended to reinforce that.

However, the former Derry City midfielder insists he will just concentrate on playing well for his club and see what happens after that.

McClean said: "That's not my decision, it's the manager's decision. Any player, it's a dream to play for your country at a major tournament.

"I'll just continue to play well for Sunderland week in, week out and come the summer, you never know."

Meanwhile, Stoke midfielder Glenn Whelan left the Aviva Stadium with four stitches in his lip after a first-half challenge.

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