O'Shea aware of Austrian importance
Published 25/03/2013 | 08:56
John O'Shea has warned Ireland they cannot afford to risk their chances of World Cup qualification by losing their heads against Austria.
Ireland will face the Austrians at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday evening knowing victory would leave them in second place in Group C behind leaders and favourites Germany. However, O'Shea is equally aware that all the hard work which secured a 0-0 draw in Sweden would be wasted if they launched an all-out assault and forgot about their defensive responsibilities.
The 31-year-old said: "If we can start on the front foot, like we did against Sweden, and have the pressing, cohesive unit that we had the other night and stop Austria playing, then we can build our attacks from there. But let's wait and see how they decide to approach the game as well.
"It will be on us as the home side, but we are not going to be too silly and go gung-ho because they have got lots of attacking threats."
The phrase "gung-ho" is simply not in manager Giovanni Trapattoni's vocabulary, and not just because of his limited English.
Trapattoni is a man for whom results mean everything, and while he too knows the game is a must-win affair if Ireland are to stand a chance of making it to the finals in Brazil next summer, he will look to defensive solidity to provide a platform for what happens at the other end of the pitch.
He was delighted with what he saw at the Friends Arena with goalkeeper David Forde making his competitive debut and Seamus Coleman, Ciaran Clark and Marc Wilson lining up alongside O'Shea at the back.
O'Shea said: "The more consistency the team can get with selection, I suppose, the better, and also the confidence from Seamus and Marc as an attacking threat also joining, it was good to see the other night.
"But the manager obviously balanced that out with Paul Green covering across, so the tactics the other night worked to a treat and we will wait and see what we have up our sleeve for Tuesday night, I suppose. But we have to make sure we can cause Austria more problems maybe than we did the Swedes.
"But look, it's an international game of football. Generally at the moment, there is very little between teams, so if we can do a bit more with our set-pieces also, we will be able to cause them lots more problems."