We lacked real incision - Martin O'Neill
Published 03/09/2014 | 22:38
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill seemed reasonably pleased with Ireland's 2-0 win over Oman but stressed that the time for improvement was fast running out with their first competitive game in four days time.
Ireland began with a starting XI who only had a combined 19 league starts between them so far this season and their lack of first-team football showed.
"The game was important for us. Some players definitely needed it," Martin O'Neill told Setanta Sports.
"Darron Gibson was getting very, very tired. He's been with Everton all pre-season but has not played a competitive game and I think there were a number of players in the same boat and it showed.
"We had plenty of possession, played some nice stuff. We weren't able to finish it off but we won the game comfortably enough.
"There is plenty of improvement in the side but time is pressing on and we have a big game on Sunday."
Ireland looked an improved outfit with the 59th minute introduction of Shane Long, Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady and that pleased the Ireland boss who was enjoying only his second win in eight games in charge.
"The substitutions came on and gave us a bit more life, a bit more energy, a little bit more impact," he added.
"We were always really comfortable without that real incision."
Man-of-the-match David Meyler filled in at right-back and was impressive and said he was happy to be deployed in any position for his country.
"It's all about building for Sunday and it's a good win for that," the Hull City midfielder said.
"He wanted to give Seamus a rest and Joey O'Brien unfortunately had to drop out so he needed some cover and he said to me to go play. I'll play anywhere for him and he knows that.
"We got the win so we're delighted.
"We're very excited, it's a great opportunity to get three points on the board on Sunday. It won't be easy. Our aim is to get to France in 2016 and we need a win."