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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 2 July, 2020

Roy: 'With the Italian game, I really felt everyone was doing it for the supporters'

The Republic of Ireland assistant boss says the team weren’t ready to go home.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND assistant manager Roy Keane believes the remarkable support for the team motivated them to victory against Italy on Wednesday night.

Speaking to FAI TV, the 44-year-old admitted the 1-0 win, which guaranteed the side a place in the round of 16, had been ‘very emotional for everybody’.

“I don’t think we felt ready to go home – that’s why I think we had such a big performance”, he said.

“Sometimes you’re playing for yourself, you’re playing for the team, you’re playing or your family. But I really felt, with the Italian game, everyone was doing it for the supporters. We thought, ‘They deserve to stay on another few days.’”

Source: FAI TV/YouTube

Keane also echoed the recent sentiments of Martin O’Neill and praised the team’s new skipper, Seamus Coleman.

The manager revealed the Everton right-back had given a powerful speech to his team-mates prior to kick-off.

“I thought he was outstanding”, said Keane.

“I thought his captaincy was brilliant and all the players responded. I’m not sure what was said in the huddle but they all took responsibility.

Roy Keane at the end of the game Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

It was a special night.”

Now, the focus shifts to facing the hosts in Lyon on Sunday. And as much as Keane acknowledges the size of the task, he believes the Irish players won’t be intimidated and points to recent history as proof.

“When you look at the last two-and-a-bit years we’ve been involved, it’s been tough going – plenty of highs, plenty of lows. But the players have always responded. You go back to the first qualifier against Georgia – late goals. It’s no coincidence. So we have to believe.  A very tough game, obviously, but we’ve had tough challenges before.

Over the last few months, we’ve managed to beat some very good teams, including Bosnia in the play-off matches – people seem to forget that a little bit.

Our mindset heading into the game is: ‘Can we create another bit of history? Bring it on.”

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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