IT WAS A positive outcome for Ireland in our friendly against Norway on Wednesday, we had a few withdrawals from the squad and it was a nice opportunity to change the side and play a different system.
We made quite a few substitutions during the game and they did as well - so it was really what a friendly is all about. You still want to win games and this was our first home game as the new management team. It was something we were looking forward to although, in some ways, you would like your first home one to be a competitive game.
It is always a good crowd at Lansdowne Road and the outcome was favourable.
We are preparing for our summer internationals and used the game to try and alter the system slightly. It was an opportunity to play Damien Duff in a little bit of a free role, breaking from midfield, which is a bit different for us as previously we've played with a four-four-two.
In the last game he played up front and it was a good chance to experiment in that way as we look ahead to the games in the summer where we play Albania and Georgia at home. We've actually got a run of five home games, with playing a friendly in August followed by competitive games in September and October.
My attention is now firmly turned towards Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough and we have got to have the desire to bounce back and finish as high as we can.
There is no doubt that Boro are a very, very good home side but, for us, it is about pride - players wanting to put in good performances and winning the game.
Middlesbrough have had a bit of an up and down season, but I also have to say that one of their better performances was at our place earlier in the season - probably one of our worst.
We want to turn that one around and it would be nice to go out with a bit of a bang this season and put in two performances in the final two games.
We don't want to go out on a downer. There is so much preparation that goes into every game and you perhaps even get more disappointed when things don't go right. It is nice when that preparation is reflected on the football pitch and you go on and win games.
I think it is important that we don't peter out this season and finish with wins and also with good performances.
Chris Hughton looks back on his international week with the Republic of Ireland and ahead to the challenge of Middlesbrough on Saturday...