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Monday 5 December 2016

Jeff Hendrick: We're fired up for play-offs and will give anyone a game

Jeff Hendrick (L) of Ireland and Karol Linetty of Poland vie for the ball during the Euro 2016 Group D qualifying football match between Poland and the Republic of Ireland at the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw on October 11, 2015
Jeff Hendrick (L) of Ireland and Karol Linetty of Poland vie for the ball during the Euro 2016 Group D qualifying football match between Poland and the Republic of Ireland at the Stadion Narodowy in Warsaw on October 11, 2015

Jeff Hendrick will use the anger of defeat in Poland to fuel his quest for a trip to THE Euro 2016 finals in France.

The 23-year-old Derby midfielder and his team-mates left Warsaw disappointed after Robert Lewandowski's header condemned them to a 2-1 defeat on Sunday evening and ended their hopes of automatic qualification for next summer's tournament.

However, just as they did after their only other defeat of the campaign in Scotland in November last year, Hendrick has urged Ireland to put those emotions to good use as they prepare for next month's play-offs.

He said: "The last time we were beaten in the group was Scotland away and we used that anger and frustration in the other games in the group. That's what we need to do again.

"Losing 2-1 is not a nice feeling. We've got a second chance now, so we've got to pick ourselves up.

"We've lost two games in the group. We've got to take positives, we've got to look back at what we've done. I don't think we should fear anyone in the play-offs.

"We'll build our confidence back up. We've got a month now to re-focus."

Ireland will learn their fate in Sunday's draw, but, with seeding determined by UEFA co-efficients, are likely to find themselves playing a side ranked above them.

Their play-off record could be better - they have won only two of seven - but they did taste success in their last venture into the sudden death showdowns four years ago when they beat Estonia 5-1 on aggregate.

The opposition is almost certain to be significantly stronger this time around, but, having beaten world champions Germany 1-0 on Thursday evening to set up their big chance in Poland, Hendrick insists they should not be afraid of what lies ahead.

He said: "We'll need to be confident. We can look back on some good stuff we've done in this group - beating the world champions, drawing with them away.

"We're a difficult team to play, we've got to remember that and bring that into the play-off."

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