Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman admitted his side’s performance against Northern Ireland in a 0-0 draw at the Aviva Stadium was ‘not good enough’, after another desperately disappointing night for Martin O’Neill’s men.
Ireland’s truly miserable 2018 on home soil ended in predictable fashion as they failed to score yet again, with Coleman giving an honest assessment of a display that again cast doubts over the future of manager Martin O’Neill.
"Not good enough is how I would describe it. We need to man up and take responsibility,” Everton full-back Coleman told RTE.
"We need to make angles for each other when we have the ball and be braver on the ball. That is the biggest disappointment.
"Darren (Randolph) got man of the match. We have to front up and do these interviews and say the right things, but the only place we can make it right is on the pitch. We all have to man up and take responsibility and that starts against Denmark.
"Maybe confidence is a problem. I'm never going to knock the quality of our players. I think we all need to step up, myself included, and be braver on the ball.
"The talking before the game and this talking after the game, it's a load of nonsense really. It's on the pitch it has to happen. We have to end this year on a high.
"Every one of us have to take responsibility. You [the media] see us in training and we get the ball down and that.
"We have to transfer that onto the pitch on matchday because that is what it is all about and what big or good players do. Bravery is not always tackling. It's getting on the ball. The only place this can be put right is on the football pitch and that's all I can say."
Predictably, O’Neill was not quite so scathing of his side’s efforts, although he concede they did not produce enough attacking intent
"In terms of going forward we should do better. I’m the manager, it’s my responsibility,” stated O’Neill.
"I'm not too worried about them putting on a performance for me, I'm the manager and it's my responsibility so any bad passes made they eventually are down to me, but overall it's disappointing for our supporters. They've paid money and we should do better and be able to create more."
O’Neill also confirmed that he expected Southampton teenager Michael Obafemi to travel with his squad to Denmark for Monday’s UEFA Nation’s League game, after he confirmed he wants to commit his international future to Ireland.
"He’s made that commitment, so yeah, we’ll take him. I think he has a chance of performing,” added O’Neill.
"I said at the start of the week that if he did make the commitment to us then I probably would take him to Denmark. If he hadn’t given that commitment, then there was really no point.
"He made the call. It was really up to him. The treatment he’s had at underage level and the way he was received by the senior players (has helped him to make his decision).”
"He’s certainly got promise. He’s obviously got work to do. I think he’s very raw. But hopefully in the not too distant future he can be a very decent player for us. Certainly I think it’s asking too much of him to step and be the goalscoring answer for us straight away."