Monday 21 August 2017

'In terms of preparation for Austria I thought it was excellent' - O'Neill upbeat despite Mexico loss

1 June 2017; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill before the start of the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Mexico at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, USA. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
1 June 2017; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill before the start of the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Mexico at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, USA. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O'Neill believes there will be short and long term benefits to a tough night at the office against Mexico in New Jersey.

Ireland suffered a 3-1 defeat at the MetLife Stadium after a disjointed performance with an experimental 3-5-2 formation against a superior opponent.

O'Neill feels it was worth trying it out but acknowledged that the outcome was fair.

He did point out that fitness was also a factor with the majority of the Irish side playing their first games in almost a month.

Centre half Shane Duffy, a key man for O'Neill, made his first outing since March and struggled. But O'Neill's priority was that he came through injury free as the Brighton centre half is one of the players that is likely to be required for Sunday week's crucial World Cup date with Austria.

"In terms of our preparation for the main game against Austria I thought it was excellent, " said an upbeat O'Neill. "Mexico  were very good, they were good on the ball as befits a side like that. I thought it was a great workout, a exercise for us.

“We have to try it (formation) that’s the whole point. That's what I said in the last two or three days, let’s have a look at it, because we might have to do it at some point in our World Cup campaign."

The Derryman was frustrated by some individual errors in the course of the match which exacerbated the broader problems.

"You can play a number of systems but you have to deal with situations," he said "Mexico played much better than us, they deserved to win the game.

"They dealt with the ball very, very well and I thought were much fitter than us. We can learn a great deal from the game."

Ireland face another tough workout against Uruguay on Sunday with O'Neill's squad set to be strengthened by the presence of the bulk of his Premier League players who will join up with the panel when they get back to Ireland on Friday

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport