Mick McCarthy, already under pressure in the wake of the Roy Keane World Cup fiasco, insists he won’t step down as Republic of Ireland manager, despite last night’s 2-1 defeat at home to Switzerland.

The loss comes on the back of a 4-2 defeat in Russia and with only two games played, Ireland’s chances of reaching the EURO 2004 finals in Portugal, look remote.

“I’ve got a contract until 2004 unless somebody tells me any different,’ said a defiant McCarthy. ‘I’m not going to walk away from it, if someone wants to makes that decision then fine.

“I’ll walk away from here with my head held high and my chin out and chest out because I’ve always done my best.”

“I am absolutely sick about the result. We did not play as well as we can,” added McCarthy.

“But maybe it is down to me. I could have accepted a point but I sent on players to try and win the game and we got caught at the back.”