Giovanni Trapattoni urged Ireland fans to keep the faith after his team lost their way against Croatia on their Euro 2012 debut in Poland on Sunday night.

Trapattoni was critical of the referee and his officials after the 3-1 defeat to the Croatians but he refused to blame his own players.

He also disagreed when it was suggested that Ireland’s European Championship campaign is now effectively over.

World Cup champions and Euro 2008 winners Spain are next up for the Irish who cannot afford to get anything less than a draw from Thursday’s game in Gdansk.

Even with that, they will then need nothing less than a win against Trap’s native Italy in Poznan on Monday week to make it through to the quarter-finals.

Speaking after the first Group C game in Poznan on Sunday night, Trapattoni was critical of the decision to award the crucial second goal, scored by Everton striker Jelavic, just before half-time.

Trap said: “I cannot now speak of the referee or the situation. I told him after the television replay that the goal was two yards offside.”

He added: “We did not play as well as we have done in a lot of our games.

“The first goal was a mistake by us and psychologically we were inferior after that goal.

“I now have to analyse what went wrong and decide if I have to make changes.”

Even with Spain and Italy to come, Trapattoni insisted: “We have to believe we can do something in these games.

“Every game in these championships can result in a surprise.”

They dominated the first [half], they had more possession, we were inferior in midfield.

“I think the first little mistake, [we were] too slow to come out of the box and the goal put us in a very bad situation, psychologically.”

“Now we are only one point behind Italy and Spain...obviously, we [have to] look about winning against Spain or Italy,” he added.