Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has admitted that Robbie Keane was not fully fit and could have been given a rest following their 1-1 draw with Slovakia in Zilina on Tuesday.
The Tottenham striker saw a penalty saved late in the first half by Jan Mucha, which would have given the visitors a 2-1 lead, and he also missed a late chance to take all three points.
Keane has not been a regular at club level, and it appeared to show, with some rusty finishing from the nation's all-time leading goalscorer.
Trapattoni, however, was quick to praise his team's performance, and insisted that he did not have any problem with what could prove a costly miss by Keane.
"Missing penalties is not a problem. The problem is I know he is not 100 per cent fit. He didn't play like he can," he said
"I could have given him a rest, I could have changed one or two players and in the future it's possible I could try this situation.
"He can improve his condition. He wanted to stay at Tottenham in August, and I agreed because I thought he would play.
"He has experience and is confident with the ball, although today he was missing the technique a little bit.
"The last game he scored a goal so the goalkeeper knows where he placed the last penalty. He was tired and I could have changed him. But psychologically it's like killing him."
"I was sure the team would show a good direction and we could win this game," continued Trapattoni.
"We played very, very well in the first half and we could have closed the game with the penalty. We deserved to win the game.
"The second half was more balanced and both teams had the possibility to win the game. We had a great chance for Robbie but it's a positive situation psychologically and a positive result. The performance was important.
"Before the game I was confident. I can be a little bit disappointed but we lost the game (against Russia) and we can accept this result."