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Trap: we can still improve

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has issued an early report card for his Portmarnock training camp pupils and the message for Ireland's top players is simple: "Good progress made but you can do much better!"

The Republic of Ireland's final international fixture before the big move back to Lansdowne Road against South Africa-bound Algeria at the RDS tonight will be a big test for Trap's top marks teenager, 19-year-old Greg Cunningham.

"Roberto Mancini has told me that he's a good player, clever, young and fast, and I have seen that for myself. He is not afraid," said Trapattoni, who admires Cunningham's attacking nature.

"He plays with the ball at his feet and looks to pass forward immediately. That is important because when the strikers get the ball quickly, it can give them maybe a yard of an advantage and that can make the difference,"

Trapattoni's overall assessment of his first two years suggests a group of players on an upward curve, one which can perform "20% better" according to the Irish boss.

"I think many times about this," he said. "I look back, I have every DVD. I think now the team plays how I wish. But we still need to pay attention to the little details. We would have beaten Italy if we had been a little more clever but we lost possession on a counter-attack and, in the last minute, they score.

"We need to improve this. When we have the lead we must learn to be calm. And we must not take any game lightly. I was a player and I know this can happen. But overall I think we have improved very much. I am satisfied with this team. I think we still have room to improve."

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