- Paul Fennessy reports from the Aviva Stadium
A DEFIANT MARTIN O’Neill brushed aside questions about his future following Ireland’s disappointing 1-0 loss to Wales at the Aviva Stadium tonight.
A second-half Harry Wilson free-kick was the difference between the sides and the result means Ireland have now won just one of their last nine matches.
The outcome also virtually ensures the Boys in Green will finish bottom of their Nations League group and go into December’s Euro 2020 draw as third rather than second seeds.
Nevertheless, O’Neill was remaining optimistic in the pre-match press conference following this latest setback.
Asked whether he still believed Ireland could mount a serious challenge for Euro 2020 qualification, he said: “I genuinely do… We need some of the major players to come back in the side, fine, hopefully that will happen, certainly maybe happen before the qualification group starts.
“But I also think some of the younger lads here, these are big matches for them to have played in, big games. They will go back to their clubs now and some of them will play, hopefully, and try to take it on board and try to improve their game at club level and be ready again.”
Asked about people questioning his future, the Ireland boss tersely responded that it “wouldn’t be unusual”.
O’Neill added that he always questioned himself as a manager and tonight would be no different.
“Do you know what? I am not so sure that I have ever not asked questions about myself. I think I do.”
“I think I did that as a player and I certainly do that as a manager.
If you are asking about responsibility for it. I take responsibility for every kick that is made on that field by us. That is my job. That will not change.
“And in terms of questioning. There is no question; I do question everything that happens on the field. I look back again to see what we may have been able to do a little bit better and hopefully that improvement continues.
“But in terms of questioning myself as a professional, both as a player and as a manager, I’ve always done it. Genuinely always done it.”Source: The42.ie/YouTube
The 66-year-old coach also played down concerns that the Irish supporters had lost faith in the team and the current management.
“I don’t know whether there were jeers [at the final whistle] or whether it was for the referee, I didn’t hear them myself. What I do know is that the crowd stayed behind to cheer the players off the field.”
You can watch the full press conference here:Source: The42.ie/YouTube
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