herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

‘The onus is on us now to go and attack’

Andrews sure Irish will be far more offensive in their closing double-header

WE'VE had the solid performance, now we need some style.

AT least that's the view of Ireland midfielder Keith Andrews as Giovanni Trapattoni's team take a four-week break before the next, and last, bout of qualifying action in the Euro 2012 campaign.

Russia and Slovakia are still hopeful that they will secure qualification for the finals and make sure that their fans need only a cross-border bus journey to make it to Poland and Ukraine.

Armenia's win over Slovakia in Zilina on Tuesday night has made the finale to Group B even more interesting as Armenia, presuming they win at home |to Macedonia next month, could find themselves coming to Dublin for the last group match knowing that a win could see them qualify, for the play-offs at least.

So after successive 0-0 draws in the campaign, Ipswich man Andrews says that Ireland now need to take a more attacking approach into the remaining group games.

Onus

“I know people at home may be talking about a change to the personnel or the system but I doubt we will make too many changes now, we are what we are,” Andrews told the Herald.

“We play 4-4-2 with one of the |forwards dropping into midfield, that's how the manager sets us up and |that's how we play.

“But we need to get on with it now especially in the two games ahead.

“Armenia are no mugs, they showed that again that they are a good side and seem to be hitting form at the end of the campaign. They're back in the hunt now

with that result against Slovakia.

“The onus is on us now. We have two games left and we feel we can win the two of them, we just have to go and do it.

“We need to pull our socks up, we have to start creating more chances, play a bit more football and go on and win these two games,” added Andrews, who has retained his central midfield slot for the last three qualifiers, having missed out on many of the games in the early rounds of Group B.

“The defensive record is good,” he went on. “You could see that the other night in Russia. We have seven clean sheets in a row now and that's a record that any nation would love to have, but we have to chip in with some more goals now, try and create a bit more.

“We are playing catch-up because of the points we dropped at home. We're not entirely happy with our home form. We'd love to have won our games at home to the bigger teams but that wasn't to be so we have to look to Andorra away and Armenia at home and make sure we win them.

“We could still need favours in the group, you have four teams there now and they all feel that they have a chance of qualifying. There's a lot of points to be won and lost, all we can do is win our two games and see what else happens. If we can get six points from the two games, we hope to be in a position to qualify or at least make the play-offs.

“The Slovakia-Russia game now is the key one. Slovakia showed last Friday in Dublin that they're a decent side and a very solid outfit, but I would also say that if the onus is on them to come out and play.

Colossal

“I don't think that suits them, they were very defensive in Dublin and if they now need to come out and attack Russia to win the game, I don't know if they will be able to do that.”

Andrews paid tribute to his team-mates, especially Richard Dunne and Shay Given, for their efforts in keeping Russia at bay on Tuesday.

“Richard was magnificent the other night and it's such a pity that it seems he'll miss the last two games of the group. That's a big disappointment for us as we he was colossal for us |the other night. Richard and Shay have been doing that for Ireland for donkey's years now and they showed how important they are to Ireland,” said Andrews.

“We were a bit worried early on. Russia are a fantastic side and they were at home so they had it all in their favour, we had a lot to stand up to.

“You can tell when they get on the ball how good they are, their players have been playing at the top level, international football and Champions League and what have you, so drawing with them away was a good result.

“It wasn't an easy evening in Moscow and we did ride our luck a bit at times, but we still put on a very strong team performance.”

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