Whelan hails Republic display

Midfielder says Republic have proved doubters wrong

Whelan: Pleased with point

Glenn Whelan believes the Republic of Ireland answered their critics with their performance in Tuesday's 1-1 Euro 2012 qualifying draw against Slovakia.

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The midfielder admits Giovanni Trapattoni's side were under pressure from fans and media alike following the Republic's display in their 3-2 defeat to Russia last Friday.

Stoke's playmaker knew another defeat in Zilina would have put them in a difficult situation in Group B.

However, the Irish could have ended up winning the game had Robbie Keane converted a late first-half penalty which he saw saved.

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.

"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."

Support

The Republic took the lead through defender Sean St Ledger but Jan Durica equalised four minutes later.

It would have been a fair reflection of the visitors' dominance had captain Keane taken his golden opportunity.

Whelan has backed the Tottenham striker to rediscover his best form.

He 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."

Keane - his country's record scorer with 45 goals - also received support from Aiden McGeady, who said: "It's one game. He's one of the best players Ireland have produced so I don't think it will bother him too much."