Glenn Whelan praised the input and “fresh ideas” of new manager Martin O’Neill, after Ireland claimed a clean sheet against Poland in the second game of the new regime.
Asked about the famously fiery nature of the Derry man’s team talks, the midfielder acknowledged the lack of a language barrier has made a difference since Giovanni Trapattoni’s time, who he retains praise for.
“He gives you confidence,” Whelan said of O’Neill. “You know he can get the best out of everyone and if he can do that with all the lads, he’ll have a great squad, and something we can really improve on.
“I think there’s much more input now because there isn’t that language barrier that maybe people talked about. If they see something that needs fixing, they’re not afraid to let you know. It may be on the pitch tonight or it maybe in training, I think that’s great because it’s something you can work on.
“I don’t want to give too much disrespect to the old manager and what he’s done, because he was great for myself but I think it comes to a time when change is probably best and fresh ideas and new ideas give the lads a boost.
“I think we’ve seen that over the last 10 days, it’s been different. The game on Friday night, we could see the difference that we’re hopefully going to play and do but it’s about going back now to the clubs and getting in a shift to get into the manager’s minds.
“We’ve got a new management now that’s come in and pushed us on and we need to up our game to get into the squad so I think overall, I think it’s probably the best decision that’s been made.”
Ireland did appear to try and play the ball around more, and that despite the widespread complaints about the quality of the Poznan surface.
“I think the lads went out, dug in and put in the performance that, obviously, people might say that it wasn’t a great performance but if you look at the state of the pitch, (it was) hard to play,” Whelan said.
“It was terrible, we came in last night and it looked as though they’d had the tractors on it, the cows were eating off it because when you put your foot on it and tried to take off, the pitch was going and moving so, like I say, it wasn’t a pitch for the best football.”
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