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'Ireland need to be harder to beat' - says Ward


Ireland veteran Stephen Ward

Ireland veteran Stephen Ward

Ireland veteran Stephen Ward

Ireland veteran Stephen Ward believes that the Irish team have to get back to basics if they are to recover from Thursday's heavy loss to Wales and press ahead with qualification for Euro 2020.

Ireland suffered their first loss to Wales since 1992 with the 4-1 defeat and while there is a friendly, away to Poland, to prepare for, the pressure is on for the next batch of Nations League games, in October.

"We need to get to basics," says Ward, who won his 50th cap in Cardiff.

"It's a transition period with a lot of new, young lads coming through. You know it's going to be tough, so many changes. We'll have to brush ourselves down and move forward as quickly as possible.

"There is time, there is a lot of ways you can qualify for the Euros. We have time to get it right and hopefully we can do that as quick as possible.

"We have to become harder to beat again. Like I said, it's going to be a transition period with all the new young lads coming in. They're fresh, they're bright, what they need is time to find their feet at this level. I think that will come."

Ward admits that the Irish side had a hand in their own demise by losing possession while on the attack, especially the third Welsh goal scored by Aaron Ramsey.

"With that one, I was forward on an attack up the left and they broke and we were all running back in. To be fair, they attacked with real pace," the Burnley man said.

"I think we're disappointed as most of the goals came when we were on the attack in possession of the ball, unfortunately we turned it over, and with players like Bale, they're going to punish you.

"They were excellent. It's difficult sometimes, I'm not making excuses, we've come away and they've played really well and have a world class player who is on the top of his game at the minute.

"Especially when you go 1-0 down, you try and get back in it but it just didn't happen for us. They just seemed to be that little sharper."

Ward also feels there's no need for a debate on the future of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane.

"We've got a great relationship with them. We've had a relatively successful time with them, a very successful time when you think of the Euros and coming close to qualifying for the World Cup. I don't really see that as a question," he said.

"It's a new group, you have to give them time to settle and get used to playing at this level."