Saturday 18 November 2017

O'Neill pleased with new additions despite disappointing defeat

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 28: Martin O'Neill, coach of Republic of Ireland gives instructions during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Iceland at Aviva Stadium on March 28, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 28: Martin O'Neill, coach of Republic of Ireland gives instructions during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Iceland at Aviva Stadium on March 28, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Martin O'Neill praised the Irish players making their debuts tonight - but added that those eager to impress him need to 'relax' on the international stage.

Ireland fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Iceland at the Aviva Stadium tonight, with one positive coming in the form of solid first outings in green for Daryl Horgan, John Egan and Andy Boyle.

When asked which players he was impressed with on the night, Martin O'Neill refused to name names but did admit that he was pleased with how his new additions played.

"Naturally I think I would rather keep that in the dressing room but I think some of the players who played for the first time can be very proud," he told eir Sport.

However, the Ireland manager also acknowledged that his team didn't keep the ball well, especially in the first half, with O'Neill seeming to put it down to players' eagerness to prove themselves.

"First of all you are coming off the back of Friday evening so you are coming in with a different mindset, still want to win the match obviously," O'Neill said.

"Some players feel as if this is their time to play, almost as if they are being judged on a 45 minute performance. There is a wee bit of extra pressure there and players maybe need to relax a wee bit. The ball was like a hot potato in the first half. I thought in the second half we were in more than reasonable control."

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