Thursday 20 June 2019

'That's a false picture you've painted' - Kenny Cunningham believes Ireland's position needs to be taken in context

David McGoldrick of Republic of Ireland has a shot on goal which hits the post
David McGoldrick of Republic of Ireland has a shot on goal which hits the post
Mick McCarthy gestures during the match. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

John Morley

Former Ireland international Kenny Cunningham has warned against over-hyping the achievement of Mick McCarthy's team topping the table in their Euro 2020 qualifying group.

Speaking on RTE Sport this morning, Cunningham dampened down the picture painted of Ireland at the top of the table with the harsh reality of the easy ties yet to come for our main competitors for qualification, Denmark and Georgia.

"That's a false picture you've painted there, if ever there was one," said Cunningham in an interview on RTE Sport.

"Obviously [Ireland] have played Gibraltar at home and away, we all expect Denmark and Georgia to get maximum points against those teams, we've got to give a more realistic picture of the group when we do that."

The former Ireland defender believes the greatest permutations lie ahead, with the home game against Denmark absolutely crucial in McCarthy's quest for qualification.

"The remaining games against Denmark, and the home and away game against Switzerland are going to be key to where we finish in the group and I don't think Mick will over-analyse the game against Gibraltar," said Cunnigham.

Cunnigham flattered McCarthy with praise and believes with small incremental improvements that Ireland can push hard for qualification in the remaining Autumn games.

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"We've had a good start, confidence is good, I think they're enjoying it, I think they're hungry and I think Mick's achieved a lot in a very short period of time," he said.

The former Sunderland player highlighted a litany of errors in the Denmark game and that the potential room for improvement leaves the international team in good stead.

"If we can nick and tap into those small little improvements and get them into the team, I think we'll be in good shape going into those key games in September, October," he added.

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