SEAMUS COLEMAN admits that Ireland need to sharpen up in front of goal if results are to improve under Martin O’Neill.
The buzz which fed Irish optimism after a three-game unbeaten run, between the win over Kazakhstan and the draw in Poland, has dissipated after successive 2-1 home defeats, to Serbia and now Turkey.
As a defender, Coleman looks at the defensive side of things and for a player in his position, letting in four goals in two home games in the space of a few months is hard to take, especially for a team which built up such a superb run of clean sheets in the far-off, distant days of Trapattoni-ism.
But he’s also aware that the threat from Ireland to opposing players is not quite up to standard, with Turkey goalkeeper Onur Recep rarely troubled last night before Jon Walters scored 13 minutes from time.
“I don’t like to concede goals, home or away, as a defender, that’s our job first and foremost, to keep clean sheets.
“On other days the forwards might get you out of trouble but that wasn’t the case either last night. We can get together again and look forward to the next game,” Coleman said after winning his 22nd senior cap.
“We should be scoring them chances. I think the lads realise those kind of chances we should be putting them away. Hopefully in the next couple of games we can do that.
“This is our first game together, first game of the summer so we will be looking to improve on that. As I said, I thought we played well at times. It is never nice to concede two goals but I thought we had a lot of chances in the first half.”
It had started off as a good day for the Killibegs man with his native Donegal winning their first battle on a road which could lead them to Croke Park.
But it ended in that defeat against a Turkey side which was devoid of big names - Nuri Sahin was the sole Turk who would have rung a bell with the home support and that was only from his disappointing time at Liverpool - but was packed with talent.
“It was disappointing. Obviously we’d have liked to win the game but that wasn’t to be. They got the second goal which gave us a lot to do, but to be fair big Jonny came on and took his goal well.
“It just wasn’t to be. I thought we played very well tonight but the most important thing is the win the game and we didn’t do that.”
One major plus for Ireland was the form of Norwich City man Wes Hoolahan, voted Man of the Match in that bizarre system which means that only players from the home side can win the title, when someone like Gokhan Gonul or Ahmet Ilhan were more worthy.
“Wes was different class,” says Coleman.
“That was a positive for us; get him on the ball as much as we can. Hopefully now we can improve against Italy on Saturday.”