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European Qualifiers Group F

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European Qualifiers Group F

O'Neill: That was unacceptable

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has branded his side's performance in losing to Luxembourg as "unacceptable".

Last Updated: 11/09/13 at 12:45 Post Comment

Aurelien Joachim's goal in the 87th minute gave the perennial international strugglers a win in a World Cup match for only the fourth time in their history.

The home side had overturned Martin Paterson's early goal, but despite Gareth McAuley's equaliser eight minutes from time they hit back to claim a famous victory.

"It was very poor, we were disappointing from start to finish," O'Neill told Sky Sports.

"We were fortunate to go ahead and we didn't learn from that, we lost a poor goal before half-time. Then when we get ourselves level, we lose another from a set-piece.

"The performance was unacceptable, the energy and work rate was not at the level required."

A win over group leaders Russia in August and a spirited display in defeat to Portugal last Friday had raised hopes that Northern Ireland could make advances in their final three qualifying matches.

However, their manager felt the progress made recently had been thrown away by his side's poor performance in the tiny Grand Duchy.

"This is a team that needs to find ways to win games," O'Neill added.

"We've had a lot of plaudits in the last couple of games but the reality is it counts for little when you come and play like tonight.

"It's okay lifting it for Portugal and Russia but we needed that tonight. When we're down gears we're average.

"In these games when we're expected to win, we need to bring the basic ingredients to win a football match.

"We didn't manage the game well when we were on top and we didn't deserve anything from the game. Luxembourg were the better team on the night."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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