'We might have to score two... we'll have to show a bit more creativity'

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill feels his side can improve on last night’s display in Copenhagen.

Martin O’Neill Martin O'Neill issues instructions to Cyrus Christie. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

– Paul Dollery reports from Copenhagen

MARTIN O’NEILL ACKNOWLEDGED that his Ireland side will need to be better in possession if they’re to qualify for the 2018 World Cup at Denmark’s expense.

Having drawn 0-0 with the Danes in last night’s play-off first leg, the tie is evenly balanced ahead of the second game in Dublin on Tuesday evening, when a place at next summer’s tournament in Russia will be at stake.

Ireland had the ball for just 30% of the game at Parken Stadium, and they struggled to threaten the hosts over the course of a frustrating 90 minutes for Age Hareide’s side.

After describing the game as “a physical battle”, O’Neill said: “The players put a big effort into the game. It would have been great if we could have scored a goal, but I think the game is evenly poised for the second leg.”

He added: “We would obviously want to be better with the ball in Dublin when we are playing in front of our home fans, and in all honesty, we will need to be if we have to score a goal.”

The tie might be delicately balanced for now, but a goal for Denmark at the Aviva Stadium will require Ireland to hit the net twice. O’Neill knows that the Danes are capable of breaking the deadlock, something they were prevented from doing last night due largely to a superb performance from Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

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“Age [Hareide] said last night in the press conference that he thinks they are capable of scoring at the Aviva — I wouldn’t doubt that,” said O’Neill. “We just have to win the game. We have to score goals to win the match.

“I think with the players that they possess, I believe that they are capable of scoring a goal, so it means we might have to score two to win the match. That’s the way I’m looking at it.

“We’ll have to show a bit more creativity during the course of the game at the Aviva. But I think we are capable of doing that. Urged on by a big crowd as well… we have a lot to play for.”


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Paul Dollery

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