Friday 13 December 2019

O'Shea urges ruthlessness

John O'Shea has urged Ireland to be more ruthless at both ends of the pitch if they are to qualify for the finals of Euro 2016.

Martin O'Neill's men slipped to their second successive defeat at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday evening when Turkey emerged as 2-1 winners, just as Serbia had done in March.

However, Ireland created more than enough chances to win the game, but ultimately were made to pay for a toxic combination of missed opportunities and defensive errors.

Both O'Neill and his captain for the night were able to take plenty of positives from the display, but know the failings in both attack and defence must be ironed out if they are to prosper when the competitive action starts in September.

O'Shea said: "At the time they got their first goal, we had total control of the game and that's something we are going to have to learn very quickly, especially taking the chances because at international level, I struggle to remember a game where we have had as many chances and we have and only come out with one goal, so that's frustrating.

"Look, I'd be more worried if we weren't creating chances, that's the big thing. When you are playing against teams like Serbia and Turkey and we have created as many chances as we have, there's something going right.

"Whether we need a bit of luck to fall our way, a decision to go our way... But we are creating the chances, and that's the main thing.

"We have to make sure our concentration levels are up and make sure when we are in control of the game, that we are shutting teams out as well and not giving them a sniff to counter-attack and score goals against us."

Ireland were dominating the game when they were hit out of the blue by Ahmet Ilhan Ozek's fine 17th-minute header, and had regained control once again when substitute Osman Tarik Camdal extended the visitors' lead with 14 minutes remaining.

Jon Walters' strike two minutes later gave them hope, but it was all too little too late, with the hosts left hugely frustrated.

But there will be little time for O'Neill's players to dwell on that frustration as they turn their attention to a series of arguably even tougher tests with Italy waiting in the wings at Craven Cottage on Saturday and fellow World Cup finalists Costa Rica and Portugal to come in the United States early next month.

Almost three weeks together will present O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane with the most sustained opportunity yet to instil their methods and philosophy, and O'Shea for one is already seeing signs of progress.

He said: "We are disappointed. We have lost a game that we shouldn't have, but we are creating a lot of good chances, so that's the positive to take from it.

"The games coming up, they are not easy games, but they are games to look forward to and games we can build on and hopefully get that result we need.

"There are lots of little things that the manager is trying to implement. It's coming together, but obviously ultimately you want results, you want goals and we didn't get it in the first half especially when we really dominated the game."

There will be something of a reshuffle of the squad over the next couple of days with keeper Rob Elliot, who made his debut against the Turks, briefly heading home for his wedding, while the Stoke contingent of Marc Wilson, Glenn Whelan and Walters have personal commitments.

New faces will arrive too with triumphant QPR striker Kevin Doyle due to join up after Saturday's dramatic Sky Bet Championship play-off final victory over Derby, along with vanquished Rams Jeff Hendrick, Richard Keogh and Conor Sammon.

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