Ireland says manager Mark Hughes had to clearout several players in the summer to lift the squad.
"He [Hughes] had it tough," Ireland recalls to the Guardian. "Some players didn't want to be there. Some players just didn't want to buy into it.
"Elano and Jô, they didn't want to put in the extra effort and it wasn't like it was that hard. It wasn't like you were being run like a dog, just that it was more professional and more based on team spirit, and these players didn't want to get into that stuff."