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Monday 10 December 2018

'We can bounce back from this heavy loss' says O'Neill

Robbie Brady (left) and Aiden McGeady cut dejected figures after the game.
Robbie Brady (left) and Aiden McGeady cut dejected figures after the game.

Martin O'Neill says he will "sit down" with his paymaster, John Delaney, to discuss his new contract as Ireland boss.

But despite walking out of a TV interview with RTE minutes after the final whistle of Ireland's humiliating 5-1 loss to Denmark in the World Cup playoff, the 65-year-old appears to be intent on staying in the role as manager up until the Euro 2020 tournament.

"I will speak to John. There was an agreement and I will speak to John in the next couple of days but I will need to have a real think about it," said O'Neill after the World Cup dream ended at the hands of the Danes, hat-trick man Christian Eriksen punishing Ireland more than any other single player has done in recent years.

"We were beaten in a playoff game, we fought tooth and nail to get into this position, this wasn't the first game of a new campaign, it was a playoff to get to the World Cup, I have to commend the players in getting this far," he added.

And O'Neill insists that his side can recover from the heavy loss.

"No it's not very hard to come back from that, we're capable of coming back. We've been beaten in a play-off game. Germany came here and won convincingly (6-1 in 2012) and we beat them not so long ago," he says.

"We've been beaten in a World Cup play-off, well-beaten, but we can come back.

"We've played 24 games in qualification in the last two campaigns. We have been beaten four times, last nigh was the fourth time we've been beaten. That's 20 others we've not been beaten in."

Denmark manager Age Hareide is hoisted by his squad after their win at the Aviva Stadium.
Denmark manager Age Hareide is hoisted by his squad after their win at the Aviva Stadium.

O'Neill was tetchy in his appearance on TV after the game and he was also irked in his press conference, by the suggestion that his luck had run out.

"I won trophies as a player and as a manager, everyone needs a bit of luck We were well beaten by a side who were technically better than us," he added.

"The two goals we conceded in a couple of minutes knocked us for six, they were really poor goals and then you are chasing the game.

"I am naturally disappointed, a couple of nights ago we fought very strong but this was our opportunity, the start we got was great but the second goal hurt us.

"The chances we had, particularly James McClean shooting past the post, we needed that to go in to give us a strong foothold in the game, but we conceded a poor goal.

"We needed to try and get some goals, get some width back in the side and what happens of course, in terms of physical strength, is that you lose that inside but we had to try and get some goals and it wasn't to be."

Was this defeat a humiliation for his side? "I would say we were well beaten," said O'Neill who knows that players who have been Ireland stalwarts for a decade or more, such as John O'Shea, Wes Hoolahan, Glenn Whelan and Daryl Murphy may now opt to leave the international stage and retire.

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