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Friday 23 August 2019

Coleman: Whether it's Gibraltar or Denmark, it's all same for us

Seamus Coleman doesn’t view playing Gibraltar as an easier task than Denmark
Seamus Coleman doesn’t view playing Gibraltar as an easier task than Denmark

Ireland captain Seamus Coleman insists that his team must approach minnows Gibraltar in the same manner as if they were playing Denmark when they face up in the Euro 2020 qualifiers tonight.

The Republic are five points ahead of Denmark in the group table and the Danes have their own test tonight when they host Georgia. The Danes will be looking for a win so Ireland don't have a chance to move further clear in the table.

Denmark are in the top eight among European nations in the FIFA rankings, while Gibraltar are second from bottom, Gibraltar with just one goal scored in the last even games.

But Coleman says the focus has to be right if Ireland are to avoid a slip-up.

"You have to stay professional as we have a job to do and you have to play the game of football. If we had Denmark in front of us tomorrow night, our approach is not going to change," said the Ireland captain, who used a few hours off from Ireland duty to watch his native Donegal beat Tyrone in Cavan on Saturday.

Thinking

"We're not thinking 'it's Gibraltar and we should be winning 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0', we need to play the game and see where that takes us. We won't be taking them for granted.

"Supporters can presume that it might be an easy game or whatever, but as players you can never do that because everyone knows football is a crazy game and you don't want to be the team that gets beat and that's why we have to stay professional.

"That won't be in doubt with the group of lads we have," he added.

"We're expected to win so we need to be prepared and make sure we get the three points. They have some good players and they were dangerous from set-pieces and throw-ins."

Hosted

The last time Ireland hosted Gibraltar, they scored after just six minutes and were 3-0 up by the 18-minute mark.

Richard Keogh has called for a bright start tonight. "I think we've got to make sure we start like we did on Friday, be aggressive, play with quality and get the crowd up with us early doors," said the Derby County man.

"Gibraltar, they've obviously got nothing to lose, they're going to come and do what suits them, so we've got to make sure we upset them, put them on the back foot, but confidence is high.

"When we played them first, it was always going to be a tough game - the pitch and the conditions were horrific. The gaffer spoke about it after, it's only when you actually play in it and experience it - it's not easy.

Job

"We got the job done, it doesn't matter if you win 1-0 or 5-0, you have to win and we got the win and that is all we wanted to do, get a good start.

"Then the Georgia game we played well, we've just taken confidence from that.

"We've got a good group here, we've got a lot of lads who have played a lot of times in the Premier League, a lot of lads who have played good standard in the Championship, we've got a lot of quality in the squad. I think everyone has been buoyed by how we've started the group. We've got to keep that going. It's exciting to be part of," added Keogh.

"Our pitch is a little bit bigger, a nice stadium, we've to try and get on the ball, try and use the space on the pitch and get our attacking players on the ball."

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