GIOVANNI Trapattoni has defended his tactics in the face of criticism from Richard Dunne about the Republic of Ireland's style of play.
The Aston Villa defender was left frustrated by the hosts' reliance on the long ball during their 3-2 defeat by Russia in Euro 2012 qualifying last night.
Dunne cited the Republic's impressive display against France last year when they came agonisingly close to reaching the World Cup finals as evidence they are capable of matching the best teams while playing a passing game.
Trapattoni admitted his instructions early on were to play the ball long to Kevin Doyle but insisted that was not their sole game plan.
The Italian said: "We wanted the ball in the last third of their park and then to compete for it there. But I don't forbid them to play. When they have the ball, I want them to pass."
The Republic were outplayed for much of the game, although luck was also against them at times, notably when Robbie Keane hit the crossbar early on while a big deflection off Dunne gave Russia their third goal.
But in truth the scoreline flattered the Republic, with late goals from Keane and substitute Shane Long masking a gulf in class between the sides.
Trapattoni was left bemoaning his paucity of options in attack outside of established front two Keane and Doyle, who is expected to recover from a knock to his knee for Tuesday's key clash with Slovakia in Zilina.
The 71-year-old confirmed he is looking at bringing in Stoke striker Jonathan Walters for next month's friendly against Norway in Dublin.
"They (Russia) had three, four, five strikers," continued Trapattoni. "We have Keane and Doyle. We look every Sunday for another striker. Maybe in November we will bring in Walters from Stoke."
Asked why he does not add the 27-year-old to his squad immediately, the coach added: "It is normal to give men time. I will give them time and a chance. Usually they are shy. That is the nature of the player."
The Republic, who remain joint top of Group B on six points with Slovakia and Russia, began their comeback just after Doyle had been replaced by midfielder Keith Fahey, with Aiden McGeady moving into the middle behind Keane.
Trapattoni revealed he may make a couple of changes for Tuesday night but dismissed suggestions the Republic would be better off starting with greater numbers in midfield.
He said: "Sure I'll look for one or two fresh players. But for two years our system worked very well. I am not sure we have the potential, technically, to play one striker.
"We need to use our mentality, our performance, our application. But I am very confident for Slovakia. Our team is not bad. We don't have as many creative players but we have solid players.
"The team is a block. It is not an individual. Yesterday, Russia played like a team."
The Aviva Stadium loss was only Trapattoni's second in a competitive international in more than two years at the helm, having guided the Republic through their World Cup group unbeaten.
Although it was a setback to their hopes of reaching a major finals for the first time in a decade, the Italian insisted there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.
Trapattoni said: "We were inferior. But in the second half we showed we can compete with a strong team like Russia.
"This is the first game we have lost in two years of qualification. That confirms our good position. It will not always be a crossbar going against us, a deflection going against us.
"But we don't look for excuses. It is important today with the players that we review this situation and how we allowed them to win. We have time to again reach the top of the table."