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Trap warns of tough times ahead


Giovanni Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has warned his players the hard work starts now after seeing them climb to the top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group B.

The 3-1 victory over Andorra at the Aviva Stadium, coupled with Friday's 1-0 win in Armenia, left Ireland with six points, the same as Slovakia, who claimed a famous away win against favourites Russia. Ireland face Russia in Dublin and then travel to Slovakia in October for a double-header which could have a major say in their destiny.

"We have six points, like Slovakia, but now we have to look to next month. The competition starts now," said Trapattoni.

"We can take confidence now. We have started the campaign and we are top of the table. It is not my habit to under-estimate teams like Macedonia, for example, but I think Slovakia and Russia will be our main competition."

Ireland got off to the perfect start when Kevin Kilbane headed them in front with just 14 minutes gone, his eighth senior international goal in his 106th appearance.

Kevin Doyle's 40th-minute piledriver looked to have wrapped up the points until midfielder Christian Martinez stunned Shay Given with a sweetly-struck half-volley five minutes later.

However, Robbie Keane took his tally for Ireland to 44 nine minutes after the break when he finished off a flowing move engineered by the impressive Aiden McGeady, and the points were safe.

Trapattoni was particularly pleased for Keane, who passed up a series of opportunities to edge closer to the 50-goal barrier in Armenia, and celebrated accordingly after finding the back of the net.

The Italian said: "He had opportunities in last game - he hit the post and had other possibilities to score a goal, and he also should have had a penalty.

"For a striker, it is important to score goals and I am happy for him because it is not easy. He and Kevin Doyle worked very hard and after an hour, they were a little bit tired after the battle in Armenia."