Friday 9 December 2016

'Conceding was a wake-up call for us'

Published 10/10/2016 | 02:30

Shane Long celebrates after scoring his side's first goal with team mate Stephen Ward Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Shane Long celebrates after scoring his side's first goal with team mate Stephen Ward Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Match-winner James McClean said a half-time managerial rollicking revitalised Ireland last night in a game they had fallen into the trap of considering too easy.

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The Derry man's two second-half goals rescued the points for Martin O'Neill's men in Chisinau, but McClean admitted a poor first-half display had put them in a predicament.

"None of us had performed" he stressed. "Even myself up until I had scored, I have to admit that. But I am happy to chip in , help the team get a vital win and that's what it is, vital. It's a massive win. We have to earn the right to play. It was a tough night on a tight pitch but as I said after the Georgia game, we have to earn the right to play.

"We had scored early but we thought it was too easy , they got a goal just before half time and that goal was a wake-up call for us, we move on now to the next one," added the West Brom winger.

McClean's goals in the 69th and 76th minutes transformed what was becoming a difficult night for the Irish.

Team captain Seamus Coleman suggested it was the group spirit that ultimately pulled Ireland through.

"They made it difficult for us," he said of the Moldovans. "But we know what we have in there whether we're playing well or not playing well, we've got good lads who'll put in a shift for us.

"I think you have to grind it out. There are no easy games. I know we didn't play massively well against Georgia but we got a good result. When we look back on these two games, we got six points. We know that we can perform better, but six points is all that matters.

"That's definitely two points dropped for Wales tonight, but Georgia's going to be a tough place to go for all of us. Our focus now is Austria next month, which will be a tough game too."

As for the Shane Duffy error that led to Moldova's equaliser, Coleman remarked "I spoke to him after. He knows himself he possibly could have done better. But you know you can react differently and maybe go hiding, but he won every header after that. He performed well after that. That's all that matters.

Irish Independent

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