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Diane Caldwell says Ireland's success was 'in spite of Vera'

Republic of Ireland defender Diane Caldwell has said the success achieved by the women's side was down to the players, and "in spite of Vera being our coach.”

Caldwell was speaking ahead of Ireland's Nations League game against Northern Ireland on Saturday, which will be the first match the women's side will play in the Aviva Stadium.

This is also the first game for Ireland since Vera Pauw has left, with the FAI deciding not to renew her contract after the World Cup, despite guiding Ireland to their first major tournament.

Eileen Gleeson will take charge of the side on an interim basis, and Caldwell named several aspects that could have been improved during Pauw's time in charge.

"We just need to raise our standards in all levels of performance on and off the pitch,” she Caldwell. “Expectations of ourselves and expectations of staff.

“Increase the levels of professionalism across the board, in every facet, be it match analysis, opponent analysis, performance, nutrition, recovery, everything across the board to get the best out of us as players and a group on the pitch.

“The same performance factors I just mentioned. I think preparation for games could have been better, physical preparation, opponent analysis, match tactics, in-game match tactics, changes, systems of play.

"I think a group of players that were destined for success came together at the right time. “From my position as a pretty experienced player I don’t think it was up to the standard I expected at international level. I think the results and performances that we got were in spite of Vera being our coach.”

Earlier in the press conference, captain Katie McCabe rejected suggestions that player power was the reason for Pauw's reign as manager coming to an