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Boss believes there are lots of things to be 'pleased about' despite loss

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Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

MARTIN O'NEILL saw much to be happy with at the Aviva Stadium as well as a great deal which frustrated him on a night when Shane Long gave a glimpse of what might be.

"I am disappointed to have lost the match, of course, but in the scheme of things, there was lots of things that I was pleased about and quite a number of things we can try to work on.

"In terms of some of the play, I was very pleased indeed," said O'Neill. "I am genuinely happy with a lot of the game.

"In the first half, we used the ball really well. We started the second half hesitantly and that allowed them in. I felt we lost our way a little, but that can happen and Serbia have decent players, so credit has to go to them.

"That said, we could have gone 2-1 up," he said and everyone knew he was talking about the two sitters missed by Long.

"I think he is frustrated with the fact he could easily have scored a hat-trick. It didn't happen for him, but in terms of his contribution, there are areas where he wants to improve. We created the chances, which is pleasing.

"Sometimes it happens. They have some very, very decent players and some sort of credit has to go to them.

"They started brightly in the second half and of course that goal gave them a big lift and they went on to get a second goal.

"It was a rather sloppy one as far as we are concerned, but that said, we had chances, clear-cut chances and overall I was pleased with the fact that we carved those chances out."

O'Neill also name-checked Aiden McGeady, a poor performer on the night, but that was no surprise to the new Ireland boss.

"I don't want to be an apologist for Aiden McGeady all the time. But you could see the lack of sharpness from the fact that he hasn't played full games in some considerable time," he said.

"I'm genuinely pleased with a lot of the game, but there's quite a few things we can work on."


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