Sunday 21 January 2018

‘I think you get carried away a wee bit’ - Martin O’Neill to RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue on Wes Hoolahan omission

Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan
Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill batted off questions over Wes Hoolahan’s exclusion in the team to face Poland tonight.

Poland secured the second automatic spot in Group D with goals from Grzegorz Krychowiak and Robert Lewandowski in a 2-1 win in Warsaw and sent Ireland to the European Championship play-offs in November.

Wes Hoolahan was a surprise exclusion after playing such a pivotal role in Thursday’s 1-0 victory over Germany and O’Neill insisted that the Norwich City playmaker was unable to start the game in his post-match interview with Tony O’Donoghue.

“I don’t think you can put everything down to one particular player, Heaven’s sake, I think you get carried away with this Tony a wee bit,” he said.

“One player? Wes wasn’t able to play at all, he was hoping to get 20, 25 minutes in the game which we talked about beforehand.

“He was always going to get on if we were trying to chase the game.  Cohesion comes from 11 players, not just one player making that difference.”

The manager conceded that the game lacked the same level of application from the stunning win over the world champions.

“It was a tough game, tough to ask for the same level of intensity we had against Germany in the short turn around.

“We had a chance, Richard’s chance perhaps, he could have scored that goal, then maybe we could have been the ones celebrating.”

The concession of the first goal, a well-worked corner kick from the home side was a “disappointment”, but after conceding just seven goals in the entire campaign, he refused to point the finger of blame at the defence.

“I was disappointed with the goals,” he admitted. “Having said this, the number of corner kicks and free kicks that we have defended successfully, so I shouldn’t really be complaining about that.”

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