Thursday 22 February 2018

'We're not good enough to be complacent' - Roy Keane's blunt assessment ahead of Austria clash


Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during squad training at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane during squad training at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Roy Keane says that Ireland are not good enough to prevail against a depleted Austria side unless they deliver their maximum performance.

The Ireland assistant is wary of overconfidence heading into tomorrow's World Cup qualifier because the visiting side are down a number of bodies and four points behind their hosts.

Keane used his pre-match press conference to deliver some stirring words about how the Ireland squad - who have been boosted by the presence of injured captain Seamus Coleman - will have to 'go to war' with the away side.

But he was also at pains to stress that Austria are worthy of serious respect, adding that Irish teams have yet to earn the right to believe any hype around their prospects.

"I've never underestimated a team in my life and we're not good enough to," said Keane. "If you've been watching Irish football for 15-20 years, we're nowhere near good enough to think we can approach an international against a team with a good record and really good players and a manager that's supposed to be under pressure (and be over-confident).

We're in for a tough game. History will tell you that. I'm pretty sure that if I was in the Austria camp I would be going, 'Listen, let's have a go at this lot'. We can be at our best in a lot of football matches and still not get a result. So this idea that we can just roll up and go 'well...' We know that we have to be at it.

"There's talk about disarray. But if they come and win on Sunday, all of a sudden they're back and they'll probably be saying there's disarray in our camp. Disarray can happen within 24 hours, that's why you've got to keep your foot down. You have to try and keep winning.

"I go back to that rollercoaster. You're either up here or down there. At the moment we're not far off the top and we want to stay there."

Jon Walters and Stephen Ward returned to full training with the Ireland squad ahead of the big Dublin date. Fringe players Andy Boyle, John Egan and Alan Browne have left the camp with Martin O'Neill content with his options.

Keane said he was happy with the bite in Ireland's training session after a day's rest. "I woke up this morning and thought, 'Let's hope there's a bit of edge to training'," he said. "And that's exactly what it was. That's what you want."

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Irish Independent

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