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Dublin: 2 °C Tuesday 22 January, 2019

'The onus is on the home side to try to break the team down. We've set out with a gameplan'

Martin O’Neill said he was “very pleased” with the Irish players’ effort this evening.

Martin O'Neill pictured at tonight's game in Copenhagen.
Martin O'Neill pictured at tonight's game in Copenhagen.
Image: Tim Goode

Updated at 00.57

IRELAND BOSS MARTIN O’Neill said he was “very pleased” with his team’s effort as they drew 0-0 away to Denmark in the first leg of the sides’ World Cup qualification play-off.

A dour game saw Ireland emerge with just 28% possession according to the BBC’s figures and create little of note, but O’Neill will justifiably argue that the result is what matters most, and the Irish side go into Tuesday’s clash at the Aviva with a decent chance of progressing to their first World Cup finals since 2002.

“It was a tough evening and the pitch was tough as well,” O’Neill told RTÉ.

“It’s all to play for now on Tuesday night.”

O’Neill was aware that the game won’t live long in many people’s memories, but felt his side’s decision to adopt a cautious approach was justified.

The onus is on the home side to try to break the team down. We’ve set out with a gameplan,” he said.

“We had one or two chances ourselves, particularly with Cyrus (Christie) doing well down the right hand side (near the end of the first half).

“We didn’t get the goal and I’m sure they’ll think 0-0 is not a bad result for them.

“But we have to win the game at the Aviva. We had to win at Wales and the game before that. We have to do it again.”

O’Neill also complimented man of the match Darren Randolph as well as the back four in general for a solid display.

“We limited them to a (couple) of chances. The one little (Pione) Sisto struck wide was a good opportunity for them, but it resulted from a mistake by us in the first place,” he added.

One of the most positive aspects of tonight’s game from both sides’ perspective was the fact that there were no bookings.

10 players in the Irish squad and nine for Denmark went into this evening’s encounter one yellow card away from a second-leg suspension, however the two teams kept their discipline in pressurised circumstances.

“From that aspect, it’s pretty good,” O’Neill said. “If we have all the players available for us to choose from, that’s always something.”

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Paul Fennessy

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