Tuesday 24 October 2017

WATCH: 'You bet your life it will be' - Bullish Roy Keane expecting 'tough' French clash

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane celebrates with Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Keane following the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane celebrates with Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Keane following the UEFA Euro 2016 Group E match between Italy and Republic of Ireland at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has warned fans of Les Bleus that they are in for a very difficult afternoon when they face the Boys in Green in Lyon on Sunday.

The reward for a victory over Italy is a meeting the hosts and tournament favourites but Keane is confident his side will travel with one thought in mind... win.

"I'd like to think that every time we get balls in the box, their fans will be nervous wrecks or whatever. Our fans will be going to enjoy it and the pressure is off a little bit but as a group, having worked with them and the manager, our mindset will be to go down and win a game of football," he told FAI TV.

"Can we do it? Of course we can. Is it going to be tough? You bet your life it will be.

"We have to believe, a very tough game abviously. We've had some tough challenges before, in the last few months we've beaten some really good teams, including Bosnia in the playoff matches.

"People seem to forget that a little bit and now we have a massive game against France who will be red-hot favourites but our mindset approaching the game is... Can we create another bit of history? And I think the players are in great form, their confidence should be sky-high.

"We just need to get the recovery right and get the energy levels high, because we need that, we saw it in the Italy game.

"Whatever about quality on the ball, we had to get around the pitch (against Italy) and we done that and we look forward to the French game and bring it on.

"We have to win the next game. It's very hard to win a knockout game unless you get out of the group, so that was our first challenge and when you look at the last two-and-a-half we've been involved, it's been tough going. Plenty of highs, plenty of lows but the players have always responded."

Keane recalled what was said in the dressing room before the game in Lille on Wednesday and the impact of Seamus Coleman, the skipper on the night.

Asked what he said to the players, he responded: "'C'mon lads, get stuck in', its always just little snippets of information. Obviously the manager has picked the team and we just felt the energy in the group and we've said all along that we were going to have to use the squad of players and we had to do that last night because it's difficult to go with the same players for three tough games, including the travelling, in 9-10 days and it's very difficult despite what people might think.

"Ultimately it's up to the players when they cross that line, I thought Seamus Coleman was outstanding, his captaincy was brilliant and all the players responded. I'm not sure what was said in the huddle before the game and ultimately it's about what the players do when the referee blows that whistle what the players do

"They all took responsibility, they all played a huge part and not just the starting XI but the lads who came off the bench and the lads who weren't on the bench... there is a lot of experienced lads in the dressing room. The Shay Givens, the Whelans, the Keanes, the O'Sheas played a huge part on what goes on in the background."

The former Manchester United captain revealed how there was a sense in the camp before the heroics in Lille that they were not ready to say goodbye to France.

"We just didn't feel ready to go home and that's why we had such a big performance. Players are playing from themselves, for the team, for your family... with the Italian game we felt everyone was doing it for the supporters because we thought, ' They deserve to stay on another few days'."

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