MARTIN O’NEILL remained upbeat and positive despite a second successive defeat at the Aviva insisting he didn’t know Ireland lost the game.
The Ireland boss believes that but for better finishing and perhaps less spectacular goalkeeping from Turkish netminder Onur and the result would have been very different.
“I thought we created a lot of chances and genuinely don’t know how we lost the game. Poor finishing and some great saves form the goalkeeper perhaps,” he said, claiming that Ireland should have at least one penalty.
“It was pretty blatant,” he said, describing Shane Long’s early claim.
“The referee knows that but he would have had to give a red card and it was a friendly game.
“I said to the players, there are big moments where you have to defend stoutly, When the big moments come you have to be stronger. We conceded two goals tonight when I think there should have been less danger. Going forward I thought we were excellent.”
O’Neill agreed with the consensus view that Wes Hoolahan deserved the man of the match award but not the notion that Aiden McGeady was close behind.
“Aiden has not played much football in the last six months, I don’t want to be an apologist for him.
“He created some beautiful moments but can go for a 10 minute spell not in the game. Sometimes that’s not his fault, sometimes it is. Those are the things that he can iron out.”
And Hoolahan as man of the match?
“I wouldn’t have disagreed with that. He’s tried to create things for us in the course of the game.
“Overall he showed a great determination, a great ability to try and manoeuvre. If we’re going to try and unlock defences here at home, particularly, we will need that type of ability.”
O’Neill was not disappointed with the size of the crowd and pointed to competing attractions across town as a good reason why so few turned up.
“My particular view is, I was delighted with the crowd in the sense that it’s hard earned money at the end of a season.
“There was a couple of other attractions in Dublin. Some of my family were thinking about leaving and going to One Direction, even my wife,” he laughed.
“I still think it’s at the end of the season. People want to do other things. I think that is the upshot.
“The upside, we can do work at leisure. We can iron these points out. We can maybe go through them in a little training routine. If we can improve defensively. If someone can find the back of the net for us regularly enough, we have a chance.
“Seriously, I was delighted with the way we tried to attack, tried to move it. We created some really good chances.”