Trapattoni satisfied with performance


Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni last night described his team's performance against Serbia as a step in the right direction.

In his first match in charge the Italian was animated throughout but had little to get excited about until Andy Keogh's equaliser in the 90th minute.

Marko Pantelic gave Serbia the lead with 15 minutes remaining after Paul McShane abandoned duties at the back in an attempt to play the Hertha Berlin striker offside.

"I think we saw a good game," said Trapattoni afterwards. "It was for me - and two or three players - the first international game, and an opportunity to give our supporters a good result."

The manager dismissed the lack of chances in the game as indicative of modern football and argued that Serbia had just one attack of note.

"Today in every game . . . there are few opportunities. It is very difficult to create two or three chances.

"They had one opportunity on the counter-attack - one distraction for us."

Pantelic's goal after McShane's lapse in concentration, he said, was down to the "little details" of football that he pledged to eradicate after he took the job.

Trapattoni also had special praise for his team's "mentality" which he believed had improved hugely from the Brazil game.

"We have started, we have begun. We certainly took a step forward this evening. In the first half, we deserved to be ahead. We had a very good opportunity with Robbie (Keane) when the defender saved the ball on the goal-line.

"But in the second half, Serbia played better than we did. We knew their qualities before the match, but we knew our own qualities and style of play, and we deserved that result.

"I don't think we deserved to lose and the result for me and the players was good."

Debutants Glenn Whelan and Damien Delaney, he added, were not stifled by their emotions and "played with a lot of personality instead".

The manager was also quick to quash suggestions that some of his players flouted the curfew while the team was away at a Portuguese training camp.

"I gave them free time," he insisted. "After 10 days they deserved some time off."