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Nov, 12, 2011

Trapattoni: The cat is in the sack

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni is wary of complacency ahead of the second-leg against Estonia, despite a 4-0 hammering of his opponents on Friday.

• Trapattoni not planning to retire

Trapattoni's side strolled to the win with a brace from Robbie Keane and goals from Keith Andrews and Jonathan Walters. But, with Ireland set to claim a spot at a major tournament for the first time since 2002, the Italian manager is not taking anything for granted.

"The cat is in the sack, but the sack is not closed,'' he said. ''The cat is in it, but it's open - and it's a wild cat.

''In my opinion, we deserved to win. Maybe we were helped after the first goal by the sending-off - at 11 v 10, we had more opportunities to score goals. But we have to have respect for our opponents for what they have achieved in this qualification campaign.

"At this moment, we are near qualifying at 4-0. But I repeat the same sentence: don't jump the gun. I have been many times at the edge of a cliff. I know these situations. I have been to many big tournaments and matches like this are what I call top level matches.

"But it's not necessarily important to achieve one objective, we have to focus on what comes next. This is my law. I never look back, I always look forward."

And Trapattoni has told his players they must reprise their heroics in Tallinn to clinch qualification and reward the fans for their support throughout the campaign.

He said: "We must have respect for these people because at this moment, with the financial crisis, it's a sacrifice to come to the stadium. We have to have respect for them and show them our commitment.

"We have a duty to repeat this game, maybe not with the same goals, but for the Irish people. I have said to the team to be careful. It will not be an easy game.

"It is another 90 minutes for our opponents. They lost some pride and it is important that we play this game with the same seriousness for our opponents and for the people coming to the stadium to watch the game. They pay for their tickets and expect a result - and not only a result, but also for us to play well.

"At home, we can also play with more confidence now with this advantage, but with the same mentality.''

Trapattoni has only one fresh injury concern with midfielder Damian Duff having bruised, but not fractured, a rib in a collision with team-mate Glenn Whelan at the A Le Coq Arena.

Full-back John O'Shea has recovered from his hamstring injury and is likely to return to the starting line-up, as will striker Kevin Doyle, who was suspended for last night's game.

However, Newcastle's Leon Best has returned to his club with the manager's best wishes after joining up to have his groin injury assessed.

Trapattoni said: "Leon Best was injured and he came in and after speaking with him and speaking with the doctor, we said to him to go home.

"We said 'thanks' because he wished to come with us, but he is injured and I told him we didn't need him in this game and that it was better to go back with his team and finish his treatment.''

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