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James McClean reveals how words from captain Seamus Coleman galvanised Ireland squad after Luxembourg shock

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James McClean, centre, celebrates scoring the Republic of Ireland’s opener (Trenka Attila/PA)

James McClean, centre, celebrates scoring the Republic of Ireland’s opener (Trenka Attila/PA)

James McClean, centre, celebrates scoring the Republic of Ireland’s opener (Trenka Attila/PA)

James McClean feels that Ireland are a win away from clicking into gear under Stephen Kenny, and detailed how weekend words from skipper Seamus Coleman helped the group try to come to terms with their shock defeat to Luxembourg.

McClean was on the scoresheet for Ireland after his return to the side for the 1-1 draw in Qatar, with Kenny praising the Derryman for showing up against the wishes of his employer Stoke because of his desperation to be involved.

He was introduced as a sub in the shock loss to Luxembourg and said tonight that the setback had hurt the dressing room but also prompted a strong reaction internally.

"First and foremost I can tell you now wholeheartedly that it hurts us more than it hurts anyone because we're the ones responsible," said McClean.

"And Saturday night, it was a real low, there's no getting away from that. It hurt, it hurt a lot and we have to pick ourselves up.

"We have to live with that, we were the ones on the pitch and it just wasn't good enough as players.

"But since then, we got here on Sunday and the attitude has been spot on. The captain (Coleman) said a few words, the manager spoke, as a group we got ourselves together and said, 'look, we have to live with that and we are the ones going forward that had to change that."

McClean said that a purposeful opening against Qatar was a sign of intent, while acknowledging there is work to do in terms of transitioning to a new style.

"I thought tonight in large parts we were very good, I think you can see what we're trying to do," he said.

"The goal was a very poor one from us to concede, they're the things we have to cut out to be an even better team.

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"But I think tonight there were positive signs, there were positive signs in Serbia as well, we just need that first win.

"I think when we get that first win hopefully that will kick-start it and the rest of the wins will follow.

"We have been a one-style nation for as long as I can remember, the manager has new ideas and so far the results haven't been how we want them to be but hopefully after Saturday and Luxembourg, that's a turning point.

"We're really trying to get the manager's philosophy out there, to be a 'pleasing on the eye' team. It's going to take time, we've got new players. Hopefully we can get that first win soon and things will look brighter going forward."


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