Monday 15 July 2019

'They're the most annoying opponent. We don't like playing Ireland' - Thomas Delaney

Shane Long tussles with Thomas Delaney during Ireland’s scoreless draw with Denmark. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Shane Long tussles with Thomas Delaney during Ireland’s scoreless draw with Denmark. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Harry Clarke

Denmark's Thomas Delaney has labelled Ireland as the "most annoying" team in football, as he admitted the Danes do not like playing the Boys In Green.

The two sides have been involved in three 0-0 draws since they met in the World Cup 2018 play-offs in Copenhagen, with the Danes thrashing Ireland 5-1 in the return leg at the Aviva Stadium. Back-to-back 0-0 draws following in the Nations League and Denmark players and management have criticised Ireland's tactics since that first game in November, 2017.

Back then, Delaney claimed that trying to break down the Irish team was like attempting to "open a can of beans using your hands".

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has once again emphasised Denmark's frustration when faced with defensive Irish tactics.

"We struggle with their tactics when they defend deeply and then one good cross against us could be all they need," said Delaney.

"When I saw that we got Ireland again, I said 'oh no, not them again'. They're the most annoying opponent."

"We've room for improvement. We don't like playing Ireland. They don't play flowing football but they're skilled at what they do and that makes it a struggle," added Delaney.

"But it's also easy to sit and defend a 0-0. That's just maintaining the status quo so it'll take something different for Ireland to score."

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Ireland manager Mick McCarthy hopes that his players can use some of Denmark's past criticism as a motivating factor ahead of this Friday's crunch Copenhagen Euro 2020 qualifier.

Before and after the infamous Danish pasting of Martin O'Neill's hapless side in Dublin in a World Cup play-off, manager Age Hareide and a number of players lambasted the Irish side's limited tactics.

Hareide famously described O'Neill's Irish as a side who were "easy to read but difficult to beat" before they did beat them easily in that World Cup play-off in November, 2017.

Earlier this week, McCarthy admitted he would use Danish comments as a motivating tool of he was still a player.

"It would with me but we're all different. If you could print what they said and remind them it may have a positive effect. I don't know what they said, I wasn't around.

"But if you were insulted, you'd try to take umbrage in a positive way if you could."

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