Vladimir Petkovic. Morgan Treacy/INPHO
opposition view

Swiss coach Petkovic: Ireland need to win in Switzerland

He also suggested Ireland’s equaliser was offside.

ALTHOUGH HE HAD TO face the media after his side again let a late lead slip – this one in Dublin wasn’t as egregious as the three-goal buffer they had in the final six minutes of the home clash with Denmark – Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic is confident tonight’s draw keeps them in contention to qualify for Euro 2020, saying Ireland will need to win in Geneva next month. 

The draw keeps Ireland six points clear of the Swiss, albeit with two heavy caveats: Switzerland have two games in hand, and have yet to play Gibraltar. 

“Ireland still have to come to Switzerland and need to win the game”, said Petkovic in his post-match press conference. “We still have our chances to qualify for the Euros. Tonight we saw there are no easy opponents, and we need to remain hungry and focused for the game against Gibraltar on Sunday.” 

McCarthy struck a different tone when he sat in the same seat a few minutes earlier, saying his side may have to “circle the wagons” if the Swiss improve on tonight’s performance. 

Petkovic wasn’t too down on his side’s showing, although did bemoan their loss of concentration as Ireland chased a late equaliser. He also tossed out the possibility that Ireland’s goal was offside – replays suggest it was, with Scott Hogan loitering offside as James McClean swung his cross from the left-wing. The fact that the cross was deflected, and it was David McGoldrick who rose above Hogan to score may have subtly worked in Ireland’s favour. 

“We mainly dominated the game, at times in the first-half we committed too many errors. At times we slipped on the pitch, there was a lack of last passes and shots. We had opportunities, but the last will to score was missing a bit. We got into difficulties after about 30 minutes as Ireland started pressing high. 

“In the second half we played better, we created better chances and after the 1-0 lead there were certain moments in which we pressed high. But when we conceded the goal, we made a mistake on the ball and we saw Ireland have a strong squad in terms of headers. 

“It was maybe an offside, for the goal. We need to be more clever and keep focused over the 90 minutes. ”

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