McCarthy expecting better performances against group's top teams after Gibraltar struggle

After Ireland made heavy work of seeing off the minows, the manager is expecting much more in the difficult games ahead.

Mick McCarthy on the touchline during tonight's win against Gibraltar.
Mick McCarthy on the touchline during tonight's win against Gibraltar.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Gavin Cooney reports from the Aviva Stadium 

IRISH MANAGER MICK McCarthy admitted he would liked to have seen his side score more than twice in their Euro 2020 qualifier against Gibraltar tonight, and is promising a better performance in the remaining games with Switzerland, Georgia and Denmark given those sides’ more ambitious style of play. 

“When you’ve had that amount of shots crosses and balls in the box, I’d like to have scored more goals”, McCarthy told his post-game press conference.

“So I’d liked to have scored more so, yes, we weren’t as good as the players would have liked to be: they were disappointed.

“We played pretty poorly against Gibraltar twice, and beat them. Against the better sides who don’t want to sit in and want to play, we’ve had two really good performances. So I doubt Switzerland will come and play like they did, it will be a more open game.

“And we played well in those two games so I’d expect to us to play against Switzerland like we did against Georgia and Denmark.”

While disappointed his side couldn’t turn their 15 shots on target and 14 corners into more than two goals, McCarthy also accentuated Gibraltar’s stubborn, defensive style of play. 

“I was frustrated with the game. I’m not frustrated with the lads, I’m a bit frustrated that we didn’t stop them playing, they had a bit too much for my liking.

The second half, they didn’t, I can’t remember… Did they get in our 18-yard box? I’m not sure. Our stats were 30-odd shots, amazing crosses. We were just profligate, wasteful with the final pass. Maybe I should congratulate them for being so belligerent and stubborn and defending well, but we were pretty wasteful. So, we’ll work at it, we’ll continue to work at it – but I’d have taken 10 points beforehand.

“I think you’re all very disrespectful to Gibraltar, actually, I really do. Talking to me beforehand about ‘a festival of football’ and scoring five past them or whatever it is.

“I never thought that’s the case. Sorry for being so pragmatic, but I’ll take the points. Yes, we could have scored more, but we haven’t, so if we end up regretting it because somebody beats me on goal difference, I’ll tell you then if I regret it.

“At this moment in time, I’m happy with 10 points.

“When I took the job on December 1 and we the Euro draw and the fixtures came out, my target, 10 points was what I thought.

“I would have taken 10 points, everybody else in here, Irish journalists, fans, would have taken 10 points however we were going to get them.

“We played better against Georgia, we played better against Denmark. We have had two horrible games against Gibraltar, but we’ve dispatched them both and as far as I’m concerned, we beat them both, so six points from the two games.

McCarthy refused to be drawn on points targets from the remaining four games in the group. His side are top of Group D at their halfway point, with 10 points from 12 games.

Much stiffer tasks lie ahead, however, with Switzerland due to visit Dublin in September. From there a double-header away to the Swiss and Georgia in October, and the concluding game is at home to Denmark in November. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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