Worthy: Good start is crucial

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington has told his side they must "get stuck in" against Serbia on Friday night to avoid being outplayed.

Last Updated: 24/03/11 at 18:27

Worthington: Outlined what is required

Worthington: Outlined what is required

Free £50 bet

Daily Offers and Promotions, sign up for a free £50 matched bet

Despite going into the Euro 2012 Group C qualifier ahead of their opponents in the standings and with a game in hand, Worthington accepts Serbia have the personnel to win handsomely if his men allow them to play.

Worthington is able to call to mind a series of matches where Northern Ireland have played in the style he requires, but was disappointed by the way they slumped to a 3-0 defeat against Scotland last time out.

Now he has warned they must be tireless in Belgrade to avoid a repeat.

"We have got to look to get a good start right from kick-off, go and get stuck into them like we have done to teams in the past when we have got results against quality teams," Worthington said.

"You can name the games; Sweden away, Czech Republic home and away, Poland at home and away, Denmark at home, Slovenia away.

"They are the ones for me that are typical Nigel Worthington performances; hard working, fit for 90 minutes, give nothing up.

"That's how I want us to play all the time. For us to get a result here we need that. Anything less and Serbia will definitely take the points.

"Going back to Dublin against Scotland, the team lost its shape. Once you start doing that you are all over the place and you get heavily punished."

Serbia have endured a trying campaign thus far with disappointing results against Slovenia and Estonia, not to mention the crowd trouble against Italy which saw the match forfeited and home fans banned from the Crvena Zvezda Stadium for Friday's match.

Injuries to key players, including Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic, have further hurt their cause, but Worthington does not consider them a team in meltdown.

"I'm not falling into that one, about Serbia being in disarray," he said.

"You look at that squad and they've got a strong team. They've got exceptional players individually and as a group.

"They have a great team, great individuals in certain areas and I'm not getting sucked in at all."

One positive Worthington hopes his side can benefit from is the lack of crowd pressure on the match officials.

Due to the UEFA ban on Serbia fans, the only spectators will be a group of around 250 Northern Ireland supporters.

Serbia's support is renowned as some of the most intimidating around and Worthington believes their absence could be a positive.

"The training session we have tonight will be a resemblance of what to expect at the ground tomorrow," he said.

"From what I've researched in the last few months, what that might do is mean there will be no massive influence on the referee, no decisions through noise.

"All the professors and people who do this research say that home support has a big influence on referees. If that isn't there, hopefully that can be in our favour."

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Fixtures

Sunday, 07 September 2014
17:00
Denmark v Armenia  
Georgia v Rep Ireland  
Hungary v N Ireland  
19:45
Faroe Islands v Finland  
Germany v Scotland  
Gibraltar v Poland  
Greece v Romania  
Portugal v Albania  
Monday, 08 September 2014
17:00
Russia v Liechtenstein  
19:45
Austria v Sweden  

Footer 365

Premier League: Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech doesn't want to be on the bench

Petr Cech has warned Jose Mourinho he does not want to be second-choice goalkeeper at Chelsea next season.

Transfer News: Sunderland striker Danny Graham expected to move on

Gus Poyet has confirmed that it is going to be 'very difficult' for Danny Graham to be part of his Sunderland squad.

Premier League: Ryan Giggs compares Louis van Gaal to Sir Alex Ferguson

Ryan Giggs has hailed Louis van Gaal's early impact and has acknowledged the similarities with Sir Alex Ferguson.

Mail Box

It Isn't Easy Supporting Spurs, You Know

We have a long mail about the travails of supporting Spurs, plus Friday thoughts on Marko Marin, marketing, victory v beauty, travelling and vanishing sprays...

Pre-Season Obviously Isn't Meaningless

The debate over the importance of pre-season continues, including a league table from last season for stats fans. Plus travelling to watch your team and Blackpool...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property