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Friday 19 April 2019

Duffy: We must play better to KO Georgia

Big improvement has to be shown in Dublin

Republic of Ireland's Shane Duffy wins a header in front of the Gibraltar goal. Photo: Simon Galloway/PA Wire
Republic of Ireland's Shane Duffy wins a header in front of the Gibraltar goal. Photo: Simon Galloway/PA Wire

Shane Duffy admits Ireland need to lift their game if they are to outwit Georgia in Dublin tomorrow night.

A win and a clean sheet were the positive aspects to emerge from opening night in the Euro 2020 qualifiers with Jeff Hendrick's second-half goal enough for Ireland to get the win they needed away to Gibraltar.

But Duffy accepts that an improvement is required if Georgia, a difficult foe for Ireland in the last few campaigns, are to be put to the sword in Dublin.

"There is a lot to improve on for us and we have to get back to working hard ahead of a big game on Tuesday," says the Brighton defender, who won his 26th senior cap on Saturday night.

"We're obviously happy that we've won the game but a few of the lads in there know that we can play better and we're not getting over excited about beating Gibraltar.

''It's a mixture of a lot of feelings. We know that we can do much better than we did, combined with satisfaction at getting the three points. In these conditions, it was quite difficult.

"We know that we can do better," he added.

"In the bigger games it comes to you more naturally and maybe you're more focused because of it, but I'd like to think that we were all quite focused and eager to impress the new manager.

"It was difficult on Saturday night and we kept trying and trying to do the right things but they didn't come off for us. We're disappointed not to score more.

"We were trying to score and we had all the possession. That little thing just didn't drop for us and that's probably the most frustrating thing that we didn't go on and score more goals.

No excuses

"I think we can play a lot better than that. The conditions didn't help. But we've no excuses because they had to play in that as well.

"It was one of those games. It wasn't particularly our night, but we've got the three points, so I'm happy. If we don't play well but get the win then that's the most important thing."

Georgia come to Dublin on a low having lost 2-0 at home to Switzerland on Saturday, but they will take confidence from the fact that they ended their losing streak against Ireland when they played out a 1-1 draw in Tbilisi in the World Cup campaign. "We're confident," says Duffy. "We're at home and we know that we can turn up.

''I wouldn't really look too much at how we're going to play on Tuesday, it was more about coming here, getting a result and getting out of here and that's what we've done."

While some of the squad have worked with Mick McCarthy before at club level, others like Duffy are encountering the Ireland boss for the first time.

"I'd spoken to him a few times on the phone, but I was excited about meeting him and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in the rest of the campaign," says Duffy, one of the 'newbies' for McCarthy.

"I enjoyed it under Martin as well. It was quite relaxed. We didn't get the results we wanted towards the end, which made it a little bit worse, but it was quite relaxed under Martin and I enjoyed the years under him.

"When you get a new manager you get a new bounce off it and everyone feels excited and eager. I wouldn't say it's more relaxed, just that everyone is excited because it's a fresh start for everyone and maybe not the same thing. "

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