As the Republic of Ireland try to block Cristiano Ronaldo, Josh Cullen has confirmed that this time around the end will be different.
When Ronaldo led Portugal to a 1-0 victory in the World Cup qualifier in Pharaoh in September, Cullen and his team-mates were one minute away from one of the most famous results in their history.
But the Manchester United superstar, who had earlier saved his penalty for teenage goalkeeper Gavin Basu, soon made his mark with two headers to snatch the win.
Speaking as the Republic begins preparations for his return to Dublin on Thursday night, live Air Sports, Anderlecht midfielder Cullen said: “Perhaps he’s the only player in world football who could have scored those two goals, and we know how special he is.
“Yeah, we could have done it in 89 minutes, but we would have wanted to do it in 95 minutes or so at the end, and that’s what we’re going to do on Thursday night.
“We will get a lot of encouragement from the performance we have done and we will try to do a similar job on Thursday night, but make the best performance a good result. “
The loss to Portugal was Ireland’s third at the start of their Group A campaign, virtually losing their qualifying hopes six days after losing to Azerbaijan and Serbia at the Aviva Stadium.
They finally recorded their first win – manager Stephen Kenny’s first match win for the 13th time – when they beat Azeris 3-0 at Baku last month.
Following Sunday’s trip to Luxembourg, the Football Association of Ireland will evaluate the campaign once the campaign is over and decide whether or not to extend Kenny’s contract.
When asked if you think the manager should be given a new contract, he said, “Yes, I am 100%.
“The progress the team has made over the past year working together is really enjoyable.
“I speak for all the boys who are behind the manager and believe in what he is trying to do. We enjoy the style of football we play and we begin to see rewards based on the performance we put into it.
“It simply came to our notice then. Yes, I want to be 100% manager. “
Durby midfielder Jason Knight, a 20-year-old Derby midfielder, backed up Cullen’s point of view: “I will echo what Josh said.
“At the individual level, he gave me the opportunity, obviously he raised me with U21s and has given me eight senior caps so far.
“I am grateful for this, I want to see him continue, and I hope he will continue to be under me. “
Cardiff striker James Collins has been ruled out of Monday’s Bristol City winger Callum O’Dowa with a hamstring injury.
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