herald

Friday 23 August 2019

McCarthy sees it as job done

But boss admits mood morose in dressing room

Annoyed: Mick McCarthy conceded that he cut a frustrated figure on the sideline
Annoyed: Mick McCarthy conceded that he cut a frustrated figure on the sideline

Mick McCarthy admitted that he was disappointed with the lack of "sexy football" from his side in their dour Euro 2020 qualifying win over Gibraltar.

But the Ireland man stresses that that he was happy to have tucked away all three points from the game at home which gives his side a haul of 10 points from the first four games and a five-point lead over closest rivals Denmark, who won 5-1 at home to Georgia last night.

"It was a win, much needed," he said when asked to sum up the night.

"Ten points, that's my assessment of it. I was frustrated with the game, not the lads, especially in the first half. We could have scored more and if we end up regretting it when someone beats us on goal difference, I may regret it then but now I am happy with 10 points.

"It feels great, I am going on my holidays with 10 points. That was the total I had in my mind when we started, a draw in Denmark, I am happy. I will settle for winning the next game, when we have Switzerland," he added, noting a morose mood in the home camp.

"We have played really well against the tough tests, played well against Georgia. We had a great performance in Denmark and got a great point, I'm not worried, we will play better against them

"It felt like we had lost, the dressing room is all quiet, I asked the players 'what's wrong with you?' We've had something like 40 crosses, 30 shots, we've just not put them in the net and maybe we should congratulate them for being so belligerent and maybe condemn us a bit for being profligate. We scored two and won the game," he said.

"I will be scouring the panel to see can we get more creativity and invention but we have had a great three weeks, and I have no criticism of the players, they have been brilliant."

He conceded that he cut a frustrated figure at times on the touchline.

"I am annoyed. I play annoyed, I manage annoyed and if it's not going right, of course, I'm annoyed, like everybody else, like the players. But, ultimately, we have won the game and that's what I wanted. I'd have liked to turn everybody on with some sexy football but it's a 2-0 win, 10 points," he said.

Gibraltar coach Julio Ribas was a happy man going home after his side restricted Ireland to a 2-0 win, one an own goal and the second scored deep into injury time.

"The result is a negative but there are plenty of positives," Ribas said.

"We played against a good team, one of the group favourites, we played with six players who are under 21 and the difference this will make to their careers, playing against top Premier League players, is a positive for our team.

"Ireland have a great team, they played a good game in Denmark but we didn't let them play last night. They have all the tools they need to be there or thereabouts to fight for the qualification spot."

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