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Win or bust for O'Neill


Ireland manager Martin O’Neill pictured yesterday

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill pictured yesterday

Striker Jon Walters

Striker Jon Walters


Ireland manager Martin O’Neill pictured yesterday

An under-pressure Martin O'Neill admits that his team are already in must-win territory ahead of next month's home games in the Nations League.

Thursday's 4-1 loss to Wales in Cardiff was the first time since the disastrous Euro 2008 campaign that the Republic began a qualifying campaign with a defeat.

Ireland have a friendly to deal with next Tuesday, away to Poland, but two home games, against Wales and Denmark next month, are now vital.

"We still have a big fight on our hands to try and get something from the two games next month and that will be hard work, but we want to be up for it," said O'Neill, who will be without forward Jon Walters for the friendly in Wroclaw.

injury victims

"We have been beaten by Wales and we have to win our home games, for a start, and give ourselves a chance," added O'Neill hoping to have injury victims Robbie Brady, James McCarthy, Shane Long and James McClean available.

"Next month there might be one or two fitter lads, I'm hoping one or two will be back but if not we will soldier on. But we need to improve, obviously. We can improve in just about every aspect."

O'Neill will take a weakened squad to Poland tomorrow, with Jon Walters the first withdrawal from the squad.

Meanwhile, the Ireland U21 side remain in the chase for Euro qualification after a 1-1 draw in Kosovo last night.