herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Gibraltar boss: 'Ireland won't hammer us 7-nil again'

Gibraltar manager Jeff Wood
Gibraltar manager Jeff Wood

A cynic could argue that Gibraltar could not play any worse than the performance they dished up against Ireland in Dublin last year.

But Jake Gosling, the side's only full-time professional and they key man for tonight's 'home' tie with Ireland in Faro, has warned Irish fans that Gibraltar are now in better shape than a few months ago and have improved since that 7-0 drubbing, Gibraltar taking positives from the first half of June's game against Germany.

"I think we are learning every day and we have definitely improved since we played in Dublin last year," Gosling told The Herald.

"It's a big task for us as we learned in the last game just how good Ireland are while we weren't as good or as sharp on the day in Dublin, I think we let ourselves down a bit in the game.

"So we have been getting better, I think we showed that in the Germany game, we were only 1-0 down at half time and had a couple of chances to score.

"At half time we felt we were in the game and there wasn't much between the sides at the break, in any game if you are 1-0 down you feel as if you have a chance," added Gosling, part of the Bristol Rovers side who were promoted from the Conference to League Two.

"We didn't do so well in the second half as Germany upped their game and scored a few, they were like a different team. We can be proud of our first-half display so if we can do that again, over 90 minutes, we can do ok against Ireland. We go into the game with an open mind, wanting to do well and see how it goes."

For tonight's game, the first of a double header which then takes them to Warsaw on Monday, Gibraltar have a new manager and some new faces as boss Jeff Wood has drafted in some younger players.

"We're improving as a nation and we are not just looking to now, we are planning for the future, we have young players in now who have brought youth and energy, they are good players and they will only get better with the more international experience they get," says Gosling, an English native who qualifies through his Gibraltar-born father.

"We need to be sharp at both ends as, at this level, if you make any mistake you get punished. We need to have our fitness and concentration up to the top levels and hopefully we can improve on how we did in Dublin. Ireland were good on the day but we were below what we can do and if we can put in practice what we have learned, we will do better."

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