We proved a point - Whelan

13 October 2010 06:00

Republic of Ireland midfielder Glenn Whelan believes Giovanni Trapattoni's team answered their critics with their performance in Tuesday's 1-1 draw against Slovakia in Zilina.

Whelan was one of a number of players who were highly critical of the Republic's display in their 3-2 Euro 2012 qualifying loss to Russia last Friday. But they put on a much-improved showing and could have won the game had Robbie Keane converted a penalty with the last kick of the first half instead of seeing it saved by Jan Mucha.

Whelan said: "We obviously wanted three points but we had a lot of doubters after Friday with the performance and the result that we got and hopefully we've changed a few minds. We need to keep that up for every game."

He added: "We knew it was going to be a tough place to come. We took an early lead and wanted to hang on but it's just one of those things. We knew they were going to have time on the ball and come back at us second half but we stood up to it well.

"We've taken a bit of a pasting over the past few days, and rightly so, but hopefully it'll be a little bit different now."

The Republic certainly began the match as if they had a point to prove and fully deserved the lead given to them by defender Sean St Ledger in the 16th minute. Jan Durica equalised 20 minutes later but it would have been a fair reflection of the visitors' dominance had captain Keane taken his golden opportunity after Aiden McGeady was brought down.

Boss Giovanni Trapattoni admitted he may consider leaving Keane out in future if the Tottenham striker continues to be a bit-part player at club level, but Whelan backed his captain to rediscover his best form.

The Stoke midfielder said: "How many points has he won for Ireland over the years?

"He's allowed to have an off night every now and again. You have to give credit to the keeper for a good save, I don't think it was a bad penalty.

"Strikers want to score goals but he'll pick himself up and dust himself down as he normally does and he'll be great for Ireland again."

Source: PA