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Paterson bullish after loss

Martin Paterson insists a young Northern Ireland squad can take some positives from their miserable World Cup qualifying campaign.

Last Updated: 12/10/13 at 14:31 Post Comment

Martin Paterson: Battles Elnur Allahverdiyev in Baku

Martin Paterson: Battles Elnur Allahverdiyev in Baku

Michael O'Neill's side arrived in Azerbaijan hoping to show that last month's loss to Luxembourg was a blip but slumped to another depressing result with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Group F's bottom side.

The result makes a fourth-placed finish unlikely and means an even tougher draw for Euro 2016 qualifying could await.

"There are positives to take, as mad as that sounds," Paterson, who hit the goalframe two minutes from time, said.

"I don't think we're miles away but it's a fine line. We had four or five good

chances, they got one break and scored: that's international football.

"But we are still a young group. We've got to learn quickly and turn results

around. If we do we have a chance of really pushing in the next campaign, but we have to work harder as a unit."

A Jonny Evans red card compounded Northern Ireland's woe and O'Neill faces the unenviable challenge of lifting a depleted squad for Tuesday's final match in Israel.

O'Neill, who has Oliver Norwood and Gareth McAuley suspended, said: "We have three players out but we also have men to come in - particularly the likes of Sammy Clingan and Chris Baird.

"We'll have to look at the centre-back situation because of the players we've lost to suspension and that is self inflicted.

"But I thought the referee was not strong enough. I'm disappointed with him,

he should have been stronger on the night."

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

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De Gea's Europa League target

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