Thursday 24 January 2019

'Well, it's us out there playing, isn't it?' - Shane Duffy defends under-fire manager Martin O'Neill

Shane Duffy: 'It’s us out there playing. It’s the players’ responsibility to perform'. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Shane Duffy: 'It’s us out there playing. It’s the players’ responsibility to perform'. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland's players will continue to back under-fire manager Martin O'Neill despite their Euro 2020 qualification hopes taking a severe nosedive at the Aviva against Wales.

"Well, it's us out there, isn't it?" responded Shane Duffy when asked about the management.

"It's us out there playing. It's the players' responsibility to perform. They can tell us what to do but it is up to us to do it and we have obviously let them down.

"It is up to the players to take responsibility of it. It's obviously not good enough. I wouldn't blame them.

"It obviously hasn't been good enough for our standards and where we have been the last few years. It is a bit of a low one at the minute and we just have to pick ourselves up a bit and regroup.

"We're just in that rut lately where we're not winning as we used to. We've got to have that never-say-die attitude."

Scott Hogan rejected the notion that Ireland should change their management before the draw for the qualifiers takes place in December, despite Ireland's dismal record of one win in the last nine games.

"God no, it would be stupid to suggest anything like that. It's the players' fault, we've not won the game, it's a simple as that.

"It's just little mistakes at the end of the day and you can't warrant for that, we to try to fix it, to cut them out.

"It's international football at the end of the day and the more mistakes you make, the more you are going to get punished. The less we make the more games we'll win in future."

Callum Robinson insisted that the mood within the camp is upbeat regardless of the continuing decline in performances and results, amidst ongoing concerns about tactics and preparation, and refutes any suggestion of change.

"I wouldn't say so, we're really tight in the dressing-room with the staff and the players. I wouldn't think that there is an issue at all.

"We're re-building, young players are coming through like myself. I came off for Seanie Maguire, he is new to it, like Aiden O'Brien. There are a lot of new faces, it's a re-building thing but at the same time we have a lot of positive players as well.

"We're not in a great position but we have to go over to Denmark and get a result now, we have to win the game and I feel with the character in the dressing-room, we'll be fine."

Ironically, Robinson's support for his manager might have been undermined by the baffling withdrawal of one of the rare shining lights on the night but the Preston man accepted the decision.

"That's the manager's choice. We wanted to change it up. It's one of them where we go 1-0 down and he obviously wants to bring on Seanie Maguire.

"It nearly worked at the end, we nearly got the goal when we were pushing on towards the end.

"I tried to be as bright as possible, I tried to get on the ball in dangerous areas which was quite hard in the game. But obviously as the game goes on, it opens up and the lads proved it did because when they came on they provided a real good threat.

"I was gutted when their goal went in, I thought we were still well in the game. I knew we would end strongly as we did and it's just disappointing to be then chasing the game.

"You always feel like you've more to offer, if you're not, then you're not a positive thinker and I am a positive thinker and positive in the way I play. That's the gaffer's choice to bring on Seanie and he was good in the game as well.

Irish Independent

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