Friday 20 September 2019

Dallas: We wouldn't have been flattered by a three-goal win

Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas collides with Republic of Ireland's James McClean. Photo: REUTERS
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas collides with Republic of Ireland's James McClean. Photo: REUTERS
David Kelly

David Kelly

Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas claimed his side should have emerged from last night's goalless draw with a win after Darren Randolph saved the Republic of Ireland with a series of fine saves.

Ireland, who went into the game having won just once in their previous nine outings and desperate to gain some momentum ahead of Monday night's Nations League trip to Denmark, were second-best in a clash between neighbours which demonstrated their respective difficulties.

"There was only one team trying to win that game," Dallas said. "If we'd won the game by two or three goals, it wouldn't have flattered us."

Callum Robinson played a lonely role as Ireland's front man and after another game without a goal by the men in green, the Preston North End front man was thankful for Randolph's performance, which earned the Bray keeper the man of the match award. "Darren Randolph did really well and made some really good saves, he was excellent and that helped us keep a clean sheet," said Callum Robinson.

"It's nice to keep a clean sheet, it's something to build on. Hopefully now we can be brave, get on the ball and create chances and it will be okay."

Robinson admitted the clean sheet was one of the few plus-points from a grim night of football.

"We were disappointed not to get the win. The only positive was a clean sheet. We thought we could have created more, been a little more positive and created a little more ourselves. So we're quite disappointed," he said.

"It's hard as a striker but you still have to work hard to help the team, put a shift in off the ball and hope the chances come. Tonight not a lot came my way personally but I still worked hard.

"We think about confidence in the dressing-room and the fact we're not scoring goals and we're aware of that and that feeds into the disappointment. We want to give the fans more going forward, but it's another clean sheet but hopefully we can go on from there."

Robinson claims his side will have belief heading to Denmark on Monday but that seems limited to perhaps matching last year's goalless draw in the first-leg of the ultimately doomed World Cup play-off.

"We will have belief after getting a result last year, a lot of the same players are there. We've nothing to lose, we have to be positive and we know we need a win no matter what. We'll build on tonight and be more creative up top. Denmark are a quality team with a load of good players. It's going to be a tough one but we'll stick together and hopefully get a result."

Portsmouth's Ronan Curtis came on for his debut and linked up well as Robinson belatedly acquired a willing partner up top.

"It was great to make my debut," said the ex-Derry City man. "I have been working hard for the last few times and this was my first time being up so I am grateful to get my debut.

"I wasn't given a clue beforehand but I finally got the nod tonight."

Irish Independent

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