Friday 18 January 2019

'We've got to compete all the way' - Irish boss

MARTIN O'Neill has had the longest wait for a competitive football match in the history of Ireland international managers and he cannot wait to get things moving against Georgia.

"This is it, this is competitive football. Every game, every minute of these games is very important for us. We've got to compete the whole way through," he said.

"The matches are not easy for us. You see yourself what sort of talent we have here. It's to get every single ounce out of the players.

"As for them, if they willing, which I think they are as they've never showed an unwillingness and it's just maybe to get that extra 10 per cent, maybe 10 per cent they don't think they have themselves. That's what this is about.

"It'll be a dogfight all the way through. We have to be mentally and physically prepared for the game," said O'Neill.

O'Neill gleaned some information from the glorified training run that was the Oman friendly in midweek and accepted that it was the introduction of some senior names late on which changed the game.

"We were passing the ball, and passing, passing, passing which was nice but we were passing for the sake of passing. Eventually, the object is to try and break in and score some goals.

"I thought we lost our way a little bit. But the influence of what you call some senior players coming in for the final third, revitalized us."

And speaking of senior players, O'Neill had nothing but good things to say about Shay Given's return to the senior international family.

"He's come in, his attitude has been excellent, as you'd expect. He's been very encouraging to the other goalkeepers around," he said.

"Not long ago when he was probably the best 'keeper in Britain. It was good to see him. I think he would say himself that he's a bit of work to do."

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