Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni admitted his side could have made it easier for themselves as they hung on to beat Cyprus 1-0 and maintain their unbeaten start to their World Cup qualifying programme.
Robbie Keane extended his record goal-scoring tally to 35 with the winner after just five minutes at Croke Park.
But a number of other chances were wasted and it took a late save from Shay Given to preserve Ireland's unbeaten record under Trapattoni.
"When Cyprus played well and forced us in midfield we had two or three great counter-attacks when we could have scored through Keane, Duff and McGready.
"We could have scored another goal. Only in the last minute was the situation very difficult," Trapattoni told Sky Sports.
Defensive giant Richard Dunne believes Ireland can make it to the World Cup finals as they stayed second in Group E behind leaders Italy.
Dunne turned in a towering performance to nullify Cyprus's attempted fightback as Trapattoni's side made it seven points from three games.
"I think after the first two games we were confident we could qualify and the more wins we get and more clean sheets we pick up the better for us," said the Manchester City captain.
"In the second half they worked really hard had us pinned back a bit and with us trying to get the three points and trying to get through the nerves started to go towards the end.
"For us to qualify we have to take maximum points when we are playing at home. There's only ourselves and Italy so far who have won so that shows how tight the group is going to be so the more 1-0 games we can pick up the better."