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Sunday 20 August 2017

Martin O'Neill: We must be wary of Gibraltar

7 October 2014; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a pitchside update ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Pitchside Update, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
7 October 2014; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill during a pitchside update ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Pitchside Update, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

MARTIN O'Neill has warned his players to make sure Gibraltar doesn't turn out to be the rock that Ireland's Euro 2016 hopes perish on.

Faced with a team of part-timers and journeymen, O'Neill is desperate to avoid complacency and has underlined that fact with his squad.

"That's exactly the message to the players. You don't want to be taking your eye off the ball. This is the important game for us," he stressed.

O'Neill knows that expectation of a goalfest is high after Poland put seven past the smallest of Europe minnows.

"This is a game we have to win. Obviously, we have to win the game. But Poland found it difficult. They scored a host of goals towards the end of the game," said O'Neill who bumped into a Polish FA delegation at a FIFA Conference in Russia.

"They said they'd found it difficult and I wasn't sure what they meant until I watched the game. Honestly, Gibraltar did cause a problem or two.

"So this idea that it's just all over? We're expected to win the game, absolutely. And that's why I cannot concentrate on anything else other than the game on Saturday," added O'Neill.

O'Neill understands that most eyes are turning towards Germany next Tuesday but his own remain firmly fixed on three points at the Aviva against Gibraltar.

"The German game, obviously, causes its own concerns - that comes afterwards. It's a tough game for us, obviously, and one that I really cannot really concern myself about until we have played Gibraltar.

"We are at home, we are expected to go forward, we are expected to attack and it's a game, obviously, of significant importance to us, so that I will deal with."

"It's really important for us to be going to Germany with six points however we do it," he said.

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