Monday 23 April 2018

'Personally I was really disappointed' - Harry Arter reflects on poor performance in Georgia

Harry Arter of Republic of Ireland in action against Jano Ananidze
Harry Arter of Republic of Ireland in action against Jano Ananidze
Republic of Ireland's Aiden McGeady appears dejected after the final whistle Photo: PA
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Harry Arter admits that Irish football has to "reflect" on events in Tbilisi last night as his side came away from Georgia with just one point, handing the initiative in Group D to Serbia.

The Irish squad made a rapid exit from Tbilisi, reaching Dublin in the early hours of this morning with much to ponder as Martin O'Neill's weary-looking side now need to conjure up something on Tuesday at home to a Serbia side who breezed past Moldova 3-0 last night.

"We didn't perform anywhere near good enough," said Arter, who had a quiet night and was replaced early in the second half by Aiden McGeady.

"Personally I was really disappointed with the first half, and the second half. For me it's a learning curve and I need to learn as quickly as possible to put things right.

"We want to have the ball and that's how we're going to win games, ultimately. It's something we can look at and improve on. We need a lot of thinking about what went wrong, and thankfully we have a game so soon to put things right. It's time to reflect on all of our performances and use it positively," added Arter, admitting that the lack of possession for his side last night reminded him of a recent clash with big-spending Manchester City at club level.

"We [Bournemouth] probably had a little bit more of the ball than [Ireland did] but against technical, very good players we would want to impose ourselves a lot better than we did last night and it's time for everyone to reflect."

Manager O'Neill appreciates the scale of the challenge ahead. "It will have to be a phenomenal effort to beat them on Tuesday night. That's what we'll have to do. We'll have to play better, we'll have to give the Serbians less room to play than we did the Georgians tonight, particularly in the first half. We have to be at our best to win the game and we can do that.

"That's my fourth game [against Georgia] since I've been in charge and the matches have all been very difficult, I think they're improving. I said yesterday that considering they're supposed to be the last seeds, they're the strongest last seeds in the whole thing. I wish them well in the rest of the campaign, they can definitely play. I know that about Georgian players anyway," added the manager.

"We came here to try and win the game but this was always going to be a tough match, Georgia have not perhaps got their points on the board that their play has deserved."

Shane Duffy had the honour of scoring his first goal at international level, but that feat was outweighed by the loss of two points. "We probably scored a bit too early. It was up to us then to take control, but unfortunately they took a grip of it. We couldn't really put our foot down and it was difficult for us to control the first half after the goal," said the defender.

"I am delighted with the goal but everyone would say they would rather get three points for their country. It is nice to pop up here and there with a goal but I would rather get a clean sheet and three points."

Meanwhile, Georgia captain Guram Kashia feels that Ireland were "outplayed" by his side last night but the Dutch-based defender, a big fan of Conor McGregor, still hopes that Ireland can qualify, promising to try and get points off Serbia in Georgia's last game, away to the group leaders next month.

"We did well, we controlled the game and we are not used to doing that. A few players who are really important for us were missing but we did well without them - we outplayed Ireland, from defence into midfield we had control of the ball, it was easy for us, so you have to give us some credit," said Kashia.

"We will try to make the last game difficult for Serbia. They are top of the group, a good team with decent players. I really hope that Ireland qualify, I am a big fan of your football but especially McGregor - I try and copy his beard, I do the same exercises as him - so I wish Ireland luck."

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