Giovanni Trapattoni hailed a new generation of internationals as Ireland saw off Poland 2-0 in Dublin.
The 73-year-old Italian handed senior debuts to Derby trio Conor Sammon, Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh while youngsters James McCarthy, James McClean and Robbie Brady all started on a night when Ireland had to weather an early storm before taking control.
Trapattoni said: “The result gives us confidence. We play a strong Sweden team in a qualifier next month and the players will be more confident after this game. With more trust and more confidence, we can play better football.
“We have watched many league games and seen many DVDs and we have discovered new players and that’s very important. We have three or four more options in the squad and we are happy about that.”
Sammon played himself into contention for a start in next month’s qualifier in Stockholm with a hard-working display but it was 30-year-old Wes Hoolahan, whose introduction from the bench was cheered by fans who have waited patiently for him to be given his chance, who caught the eye.
It was he who sealed the win with a well-taken 76th-minute strike, his first senior international goal, after defender Ciaran Clark had given the home side a 35th-minute lead against the run of play.
Trapattoni has resisted the clamour for the Norwich number 10 to be given his chance, partly because of his age and also because he prefers to field two out-and-out strikers.
However, he admitted that he and assistant boss Marco Tardelli may have been mistaken in doing so.
He said: “In the past, I have been asked many questions about Hoolahan and I said we knew him very well.
“He is not old, but we wanted to look at the new players, young players like James McCarthy. I also like to play with two strikers because if you play with only one striker, the opposition may think you fear them.
“Hoolahan, we have seen many times and I have said many times to Marco, it’s a pity. But maybe we have overlooked him because in every game we have seen him play for his club, he has played very well in this position.
“In the future, we will consider this. International football is not the same as club football, it’s not easy, but he is a good option.”
If Hoolahan’s contribution was one of the more notable on the night, fellow thirty-something David Forde made the most of his installation as first-choice keeper ahead of Keiren Westwood with a string of important first-half saves to keep his side in the game before Clark’s goal turned the tide.
Trapattoni admitted: “We won but in the first half, Poland were superior.”