Sunday 24 September 2017

Martin O'Neill hails players but admits hard work ahead

Martin O'Neill saw his Ireland team fight to a 0-0 friendly draw in Poland
Martin O'Neill saw his Ireland team fight to a 0-0 friendly draw in Poland
David Forde, Republic of Ireland, in action against Poland. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, in action against Lukasz Szukala , Poland. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Anthony Stokes, Republic of Ireland, in action against Lukasz Szukala, Poland. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Aiden McGeady, Republic of Ireland, in action against Piotr Celeban, Poland. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Shane Long, Republic of Ireland, in action against Lukasz Szukala, Poland. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Robert Lewandowski, Poland. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Roy Keane looks tense during the pre-match warm up for the Poland v Republic of Ireland match, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill, left, and assistant manager Roy Keane during the game. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney in attendance at the game. Friendly International, Poland v Republic of Ireland, Municipal Stadium, Poznan, Poland. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MARTIN O'NEILL paid tribute to his players but admitted there was room for improvement after a dull scoreless draw in Poland.

Both teams struggled to create chances on a chilly night in Poznan, with the poor playing surface at the Municipal Stadium failing to help proceedings. However, O'Neill was satisfied that a team with seven changes from Friday's win over Latvia applied themselves well to the task, although he acknowledged there were areas of play that Ireland could work on.

"It was away from home and it's a good result for us in that sense," said O'Neill. "Of course, there are a lot of things we can improve on, the players feel that themselves. But tonight was tough going and we saw it through.

"It was not the most fantastic spectacle but we can improve. I think we can deal with good possession a wee bit better.

"The pitch was very sticky, there were some divots out there but that was the same for both teams. I thought the last 10 minutes of the first half, we became a bit ragged and lost shape and gave the ball away needlessly but we showed terrific resilience towards the end."

O'Neill again praised the contribution of Aiden McGeady, feeling that he was Ireland's most dangerous player in the final third. "He's got terrific feet and he's a genuine danger," he said.

The 61-year-old was also happy with the impressive Marc Wilson, who was again picked at centre-half before moving into central midfield. "Marc has a real presence about him and can play left-back as well," said O'Neill.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport