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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Giovanni Trapattoni 'happy' despite defeat

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni insisted he was still happy despite tasting defeat for the first time in the Irish job.

The Irish went down 3-2 to Poland at Croke Park as a late fightback couldn't prevent the Poles from ending Trapattoni's six-match unbeaten run.

"Normally after a defeat, I am sad and not happy, but this evening, I am not sad," said the Republic manager.

"I saw from some players that we can believe in the future."

Trapattoni handed Hull striker Caleb Folan his first international start and gave debuts to substitutes Keith Andrews and Noel Hunt, the younger brother of midfielder Stephen, who was also introduced.

"Yesterday, I said this team (Poland) are strong and have played together for a long time.

"But we had some great chances with Damien Duff and we kept believing we could score and for me, that's positive.

"I said to the players in the dressing room afterwards that it is better to lose a friendly that a World Cup qualifier.

"We can start 2009 with great belief. We have a good direction."

Shay Given lamented the Republic of Ireland's defending after the game.

"It was a hectic finale to the game but we gave away disappointing goals," said Given, who was captain on the night.

"We had the worst possible start to both halves.

"We really dug deep but we are obviously disappointed.

"After they scored early in the game I thought we were the better team in the first half.

"They got lucky breaks for the second and third goals but they are a good side and they took their chances well.

"On another day we would have got an equaliser at the death."

Poland coach Leo Beenhakker was delighted with both the performance and the enthusiasm with which it was greeted by thousands of Poles among a crowd of 50,066.

He said: "We had fantastic support tonight and I am delighted we won for all our fans who came here.

"It was a very useful exercise, although I was not terribly impressed that we conceded two goals in the closing stages.

"But we played well overall and I am happy with the outcome."

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