Sport European Championships

Thursday 18 September 2014

North miles away from where we need to be - O'Neill

Published 06/03/2014 | 02:30

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BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - NOVEMBER 14:  Michael O'Neill the manager of Northern Ireland looks on prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Group F Qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan at Windsor Park on November 14, 2012 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill admitted his side remain "miles away" from where they want to be after a sterile 0-0 stalemate in Cyprus.

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O'Neill's men were second best to a Cypriot side ranked 122nd in the world, but got away with a draw despite playing the final 15 minutes with 10 men following Gareth McAuley's red card.

The game was a dire spectacle which will be easily forgotten by the sparse crowd and left O'Neill with little evidence that Northern Ireland are heading in the right direction. The North had neither won nor scored in 12 away friendlies since beating Finland in 2006 coming into the match and that sorry sequence continued at a deserted GSP Stadium.

O'Neill, who has yet to win away from home more than two years since taking the job, said: "People have to realise we are trying to build an international team here and it will take time. We are miles away from being the finished article.

"We weren't good in possession and they were better on the ball.

"They put us under pressure because we continually gave the ball away cheaply and that was the most disappointing thing on the night."

Press Association

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