Saturday 17 November 2018

Martin O'Neill 'genuinely' believes Ireland can still qualify for Euro 2020 despite the likelihood of being third seeds

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a press conference following the UEFA Nations League B group four match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a press conference following the UEFA Nations League B group four match between Republic of Ireland and Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O’Neill says that the buck stops with him after another grim Dublin night for Ireland.

But he insists that he is capable of turning things around following a defeat to Wales that all but guarantees his side will drop to third-seed status for Euro 2020.

O’Neill asserted that he “genuinely” feels Ireland can still qualify for that competition. The Derryman was asked if he would question his own position following a return of just one point from three UEFA Nations League encounters.

“I’m not sure that I’ve ever not asked questions about myself,” said O’Neill after a second-half free-kick from Harry Wilson gave a youthful Welsh side all three points.

“I’ve done that as  a player and I’ve certainly done that as a manager. I take responsibility for every kick that is made on the field by us.”

“That is my job. That will not change.

“We may have been able to do a little bit better. In terms of questioning myself as a professional, I’ve always genuinely done that.

“You (the press) have questioned me for four-and-a-half years. That’s not unusual.”

O’Neill felt that post-match jeers at the Aviva were aimed at the referee rather than his side after a late flurry of activity. 

He felt there were signs of improvement from Saturday’s draw with Denmark.

“There were positive things to take out of the game and I’m delighted with the endeavour we showed but endeavour alone is not enough,” he said.

“It lacked a bit of quality. We need some major players to come back into the side and hopefully that will happen.”

Harry Arter was in the bad books with O’Neill after his foul gave Wilson the free-kick opportunity.  “I’ve said to the players that if you’re going to go to ground, you’re going to have to be absolutely certain to get the ball and it’s proved costly,” added O’Neill.

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