Giovanni Trapattoni saluted his "wardrobe" after seeing the Republic of Ireland survive a concerted fightback to claim three more World Cup points with a 1-0 victory over Cyprus.
Trapattoni was indebted to the heroics of central defender Richard Dunne and keeper Shay Given, who led the battle to keep Cyprus at bay when they belatedly launched their assault.
And the Italian said: "Richard Dunne played well. He is like a wardrobe, he is as big as a wardrobe. Whenever the ball was thrown in there, he won it. That was important."
Dunne made two fine blocks to deny first Dimitris Christofi and then Michael Konstantinou after the break as the Cypriots finally produced the kind of football which had so troubled Ireland in the past.
The home side took a fifth-minute lead when Robbie Keane made the most of Damien Duff's teasing cross to head home the 35th goal of his senior international career, and held on for the points.
Trapattoni said: "Cyprus pushed, pushed, pushed, but we kept our shape very well. In the first half, they had only one chance from a deflection, but Cyprus played well, the whole team. They are confident and good on the ball, but our defenders in those situations were very strong. We didn't have any real difficulties except for those two opportunities.
"I like Cyprus. I congratulated [manager Angelos] Anastasiades on his team's performance. I had seen many, many DVDs, and they have good players."
The win took Ireland's points tally from their opening three qualifiers to seven from a possible nine, and kept them hot on the heels of Group Eight leaders and world champions Italy.
Trapattoni had sprung something of a surprise on the eve of the game match when he announced he was to hand 20-year-old midfielder Darron Gibson a first start for his country in place of the injured Steven Reid. The youngster had a tough baptism, but the manager was quick to defend his decision to play him.
He said: "I needed his height. I know what [Liam] Miller can do - Miller has been one of the best players in training, but the physical side was also important."
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