MARCO TARDELLI has moved to dispel any notion of dissent in the Irish camp after Richard Dunne criticised the team's approach in Friday's loss to Russia.
The Aston Villa defender did appear to be blaming the players rather than the management in stating that they needed to be braver as opposed to just lashing the ball into no man's land. But his comments were pointed.
"We're never going to control games if we play like that," he said. "We've got to put our foot on the ball at some stage and string five or six passes together and create chances that way rather than from set-pieces or long balls all the time."
Nevertheless, Giovanni Trapattoni acknowledged that he did encourage his players to take a direct approach, utilising Kevin Doyle's ability to hold up the ball. Russia pressed Ireland to such an extent that it increasingly became the only exit strategy, hence Dunne's assertions.
Tardelli shrugged off talk of unrest yesterday, suggesting that the blunt nature of the 31-year-old's comments were drawn from his emotion in the heat of the moment.
"Sometimes it is better to say nothing after the match," said the Irish assistant.
"I think Richard knows we have some players who don't play for their clubs, and for us this is very important.
"It is possible sometimes to create play, and sometimes not. Against France, we played well and we created the play. You remember against France, we played long balls but we took the ball in midfield because we had many experienced players."
Tardelli believes that the Irish players are hurting after Friday's loss at the Aviva Stadium and expects a response in Zilina tomorrow evening, pointing out how Trapattoni's side bounced back from their only other competitive defeat in the last two and a half years -- the first leg loss to France in last November's play-off.
"I think their pride was hurt," he asserted.
"I played many times for the national team. When I lost, my pride was hurt. In football, it's nice because there is always the possibility to show a reaction.
"Slovakia is a good team like us. Maybe their pride will also be hurt (after their 3-1 loss to Armenia in Yerevan on Friday evening)."
Still, Tardelli stressed that a long campaign lies ahead, and cautioned against getting too despondent in response to the Russian reverse.
"It's only one result," he said.
Meanwhile, Ipswich Town keeper Brian Murphy was called into the squad last night to replace Keiren Westwood who picked up a facial injury in training and has returned to Coventry for treatment.