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Ireland players take blame and praise fans

The Irish lost their first game 3-1 to Croatia after conceding sloppy goals and did so again as they were left chasing shadows against a Spain team Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni said play like an orchestra.

"We tried to say, before the game, let's learn our lessons, but we shot ourselves in the foot again," said Andrews.

"They were silly goals and we didn't learn, but they're such a top side any lapse in concentration is going to hurt you. For the majority of the game we were chasing shadows - and we couldn't get near them. They are a fantastic side."

Trapattoni also criticised his team and praised Spain, but called for his players to lift themselves for their final game against Italy.

"For the second time we conceded a goal after three minutes, which throws the tactical plan out the window - and the mistakes we made were a psychological blow," he said.

"They probably made the players feel inferior, or worried, which led to other crucial errors.

"I have to think about the disappointment of the Irish people, too. The crowd cheered us even when we were behind and the players must remember this and finish against Italy with heads held high. We must do our duty against Italy."

He added: "Spain play like an orchestra and do not use up much energy when they play... they can play with their eyes closed."


Like his Italian manager, Andrews also praised the estimated 20,000 Irish fans who were in the stadium and called them "the best in the world" - only to face a sharp rebuke later from former Ireland captain Roy Keane.

Defender Sean St Leger also praised the supporters, saying: "We have to pick ourselves up - if you look at the fans in the stands, they were singing their hearts out at 4-0 down and still singing at the end.

"I've never seen anything like it and don't think I ever will. Hopefully, we'll give them something back in the Italy game."

Keane, however, hit out at the mentality of the Irish players and fans. He said they needed a change in outlook if they want to have success.

"I think the players and supporters have to change their mentality. It's just nonsense to say how great the supporters are. They want to see the players do a lot better and not give daft goals away like that.

"Let's change that attitude towards Irish supporters. Let's not kid ourselves, they want to see their team winning - and not just go along for the sing-song now and again."

Keane also lambasted the team for an inept defensive display.

"The goals they gave away tonight were, at any level, absolutely shocking," he said.