herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Doyle: We can't afford to feel sorry for ourselves

A CASE of dented pride and sore heads for the thousands of Irish fans who woke up in Poznan this morning.

Hangovers, lost plane tickets, missing baggage, empty wallets and all of the other elements that don't matter when your team has won but, after such a convincing defeat by Croatia, all those drawbacks mount up and push even the most genial of fans towards moroseness.

For Ireland's players, they were out of Poznan straight away, bound for the airport and a flight to Gdansk which had them back in their beds at their Sopot HQ this morning, at a time when many Irish fans in Poznan were only thinking about ordering one last round or the final kebab of the night.

Today is when the supporters' post-mortems will start but for the squad, last night's travel gave them time to ponder and reflect, and the first idea to hit home is that now is not the time for Irish football to feel sorry for itself.

"We can't feel too down or too depressed because we need to be ready for Thursday and Spain," said Kevin Doyle.

"We will be fine for Thursday, we'll warm down today and get ready for more training tomorrow, I'd imagine we'll watch the Spanish then.

"We are usually at our best in games like this and we'll need to be at our best for Spain. We will be ready for the Spain game.

"We had unbelievable support last night, they were singing even in the rain, outside the ground, at the hotel on the day before the game, they were fantastic," added the Wolves striker, who admitted that Ireland were not themselves against Croatia.

Possession

"Overall they didn't slice us apart but they had good bits of possession and scored from situations that we are usually good at. We conceded from three set pieces and that's not like us," Doyle said.

"We don't usually have the most of the possession in games but we usually get something out of it - we didn't last night, it was our first defeat in 15 games, letting in goals from situations that we should be stronger at.

"Conceding a goal at any time is disappointing but the timing of those last night was hard, to concede just before half time, we just wanted to get into half time without conceding another but to let one in just before the break, and from a set piece, was hard to take.

"It was a difficult game to play in, I did what I could last night in terms of my own game and hopefully I will be able to do the same on Thursday."

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