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Irvine: "Home games are key for us"

Jackson Irvine levelled the scores at 1-1 with a bullet header at Karlsruher SC at the weekend and had a second goal ruled out for offside. After training on Tuesday, the skipper took time out to talk to the media.

Jackson Irvine on…

…the Karlsruhe game: "I think the mentality was good. After losing a goal so early in the game we were really calm and kept trying to do the right things and we worked our way back into the game before half-time. We created numerous really good moments and it's just about trying to work on that little bit extra to convert a good chance into a really clear goalscoring opportunity, so these are some of the things we'll look at in training this week."

…a comparison of the defeats against Karlsruhe and Schalke: "They were totally different games. At Schalke we were just nowhere near the game from the very beginning. We couldn't match their intensity and physicality. Karlsruhe was very much the opposite. We were good in the duels and better on the ball and I think we created some good opportunities and were unlucky in a few moments as well, but we saw the power attacking of Karlsruhe. We knew we had to be clean with the ball because they can punish you. We had one turnover in the second half that led to a big chance and they took it."

…set pieces in training: "We're always well prepared from set plays, which makes it so satisfying when they work, but we also work on them defensively, so we're equally dissatisfied when we lose a goal, especially in the opening seconds. The staff work hard to prepare us for these moments because they can decide games, as we saw."

…the promotion race: "It's not a topic of conversation or something we focus on in that way, but of course when you set ultimate goals, you focus on the small steps of getting there. It's all about pushing the right messaging in the week. The intensity and the fire are there in this group. It seems to be really built into this squad. The lads are up for every session and every game, which is why we've had the run that we've had so far."

Jackson Irvine was a constant threat from set plays at Karlsruhe and headed his fourth goal of the season from a Marcel Hartel corner.

Jackson Irvine was a constant threat from set plays at Karlsruhe and headed his fourth goal of the season from a Marcel Hartel corner.

…the upcoming home game against Elversberg: "Every game in the run-in is important, of course, but home games are key for us. The home crowd and the way we play at the Millerntor has been vital for our form this season. Elversberg haven't got much to lose and we'll need to be at our very best to beat them on Sunday."

…the 'awareness' concept at home games: "It's a great initiative and very progressive. We want to create a safe and welcoming environment for everybody, not just in football. If that can reach into broader society, it's a good thing, so I hope it can bring something positive to the matchday experience for some fans."

…the disappointment of Australia's exit from the Asian Cup: "It's not a tournament that's well known in Europe but for us it's the biggest tournament outside of the World Cup. That's probably why I was so ill when I came back. I was devastated at losing the game, especially the way which we lost. These tough moments in life and in football only make you more motivated to try and achieve special ones."

Photos: FC St. Pauli/Witters