Sport Soccer

Friday 23 March 2018

Dunne desperate for return of Lansdowne roar

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

RICHARD DUNNE has admitted that the Aviva Stadium doesn't feel like home in the way that Lansdowne Road did, a situation he wants to change when Slovakia come to town tomorrow evening.

The big defender admits that poor attendances at the renovated venue haven't helped, so he is hoping that the teams emerge to something approaching a full house for the crunch qualifier.

"It's not Lansdowne Road as it was really -- it's a new stadium, and it's different. The games there probably haven't been the most exciting," said Dunne.

"The way things are financially around the country, the stadium hasn't been as full as we would have liked. But this is probably our biggest game at the new stadium and it would be nice if we could get an early goal to get the whole place going and the atmosphere going."

Last October's visit of Russia proved to be a high-profile disaster in Dublin 4, and Dunne was vocal about Ireland's display in the aftermath.

At the time, he was critical of the team's approach, which pricked Giovanni Trapattoni's ears, but he says it is more to do with attitude than formations.

"It was disappointing because we probably went into it with the mindset where we thought we were hard to beat and didn't do the basic things right on the night.

"We made ourselves easy to beat. So we have to realise that we are hard to beat as long as we perform and work really hard in every game."

It will be a happier Dunne that steps onto the field tomorrow. Last season was a miserable time for the Dubliner, who lost his form and was unhappy under the Gerard Houllier regime at Aston Villa. He expected to leave until Alex McLeish took over. Now, with a good pre-season under his belt, everything is rosy in the garden again.

"Alex heard of stuff that happened at Villa last year, between myself and James Collins, but when he came in he said that if you recapture your form, he wanted us to be his main centre-halves," said Dunne.

"That gave us confidence straight away. I feel like last season was a waste, and want to get back to the form I was in a couple of years ago."

Irish Independent

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