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'Compared to the set-up I have at Wolves, you could class it as old school'

Matt Doherty was speaking about Martin O’Neill’s reign tonight.

Ireland and Wolves defender Matt Doherty.
Ireland and Wolves defender Matt Doherty.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND defender Matt Doherty has criticised the lack of preparation in the national set-up under Martin O’Neill. 

O’Neill and his management team stepped down by mutual consent earlier today, just two days after a 0-0 draw in Denmark. 

Wolves defender Doherty, who was handed his Irish debut by the Derryman in March, spoke about O’Neill’s “old school” methods during an appearance on 2fm’s Game On tonight.

“We know it is a results business, and also performance business,” Doherty said. “You have to perform well to get the results. They haven’t been coming

“When people lose their jobs in this day and age, you are never really too surprised.

“Everyone thinks there wasn’t a game plan every time, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes there was, sometimes it was less clear,” he continued.

“Compared to the set-up I have at Wolves, you could class it as old school. When you were away with Ireland, you didn’t really have that much coaching. It was more of five-a-side, or 11-a-side game, and that would be it.

“You can’t have that, especially at international football, people not really sure on what their role is the next day”

“The day before a game you would do a few set-pieces here and there and then go into the game. You are kind of thinking to yourself, ‘what shape are we going to play?’

“You’d have a few players thinking we’ll play this shape, or someone else thinking something else. You can’t have that, especially at international football, people not really sure on what their role is the next day.

“It is bizarre, but like I said, it didn’t happen all the time. There were odd occasions when it did happen.”

The former Bohemians player admitted the negative atmosphere surrounding the team affected the players during recent games. 

“In the stadium when you’re playing, you feel the negative vibe going around for not playing the ball forward, or for not pressing,” he stated.

“The performances haven’t been good at all… It’s come back to bite him (O’Neill) in the end.

“You see it in the paper, although you try your best not to read that stuff. Eventually somehow it will get to you and you will see most of the things that are being said.

“As players you want to be able to go out there and perform for your country and give people good things to write about. Nobody likes to be talked about badly. It has been a tough year. The performances haven’t been good at all, not even when I was involved. It’s come back to bite him in the end.”

Martin O’Neill Martin O’Neill during the 0-0 draw in Aarhus. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Doherty did stress the point that Ireland enjoyed some great days under O’Neill.

“He has brought great nights to Irish football. He’s brought moments where I have been watching at home, not in the squad, as a fan also. Some of the times he has made the hairs on the back of the neck stand up, he’s the manager of that. So he deserves credit as well.”

In terms of a successor, the 26-year-old said: “anybody who plays me would be my preference.

“You want somebody who will give a new lease of life to the place. I know the results haven’t been going well, the performances haven’t been good, but there are quality players in the squad.

“If he can get the best out of them, he can have a very decent team.”

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