O'Neill keen on extended deal

Michael O'Neill wants the chance to make Northern Ireland a competitive force in European football again.

Last Updated: 21/03/13 at 19:30 Post Comment

Michael O'Neill: Yet to win a game as Northern Ireland manager

Michael O'Neill: Yet to win a game as Northern Ireland manager

O'Neill goes into Friday's World Cup qualifier against Russia in Belfast still looking for his first win since succeeding Nigel Worthington as manager.

The 43-year-old's deal is up at the end of this year but he believes, given time and a contract extension, qualification for a first major tournament since 1986 is a realistic aim.

"The job for me was always until the end of this campaign but I have enjoyed the challenge," he said.

"If the association felt they wanted me to continue to the Euros I would do it, simple as that.

"It takes you six months to learn the nature of the job and what's expected. The relationship with myself and the players is strong and can only continue to develop. Certainly, I would welcome that opportunity.

"I've been in the job a year and we've only had 22 days to work with the players, so that's a challenge. You have to mould a team.

"We'll always be a team that is more than the sum of its parts. In the period of time we have had with the players that's what we have tried to work on.

"I believe this is a group of players who can win games at international level, be competitive and, given time, can get the opportunity to get close to qualification for a major tournament."

O'Neill's immediate aim is to overcome a Russia side with four wins from four in Group F - thriving under Fabio Capello and without former captain Andrey Arshavin.

He said: "I think the biggest difference is that Capello's Russia work harder than Advocaat's Russia.

"I saw them in the Euros under a different manager and the players who have come in since then give Russia a higher work ethic than they have when Arshavin plays."

Russia won the reverse fixture 2-0 in September, and Irish captain Steven Davis believes lessons must be learned from that game.

He said: "When we played in Russia we didn't see a great deal of the ball and that might be the same again, so when we do get chances we know we are going to have to be clinical."

The template, as far as Davis is concerned, should be October's 1-1 draw in Portugal - comfortably the most eye-catching result of the O'Neill era.

He said: "Of course, the going to be very difficult but we will use our performance in Portugal as the benchmark.

"Giving the fans a night like that game in Portugal was a massive lift but we won't underestimate just how tough it is going to be against Russia.

"Like I have said, I think the performances have been good without getting a little bit of fortune along the way. What is important for us is to use everything we have to our advantage."


Get £400 from your free £10 bet with Sky Bet if Northern Ireland win 2-0


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

A

rturo Vidal, James Rodriguez, Angel Di Maria...........who cares we have Mark Oxley.......Ah tis good to be Hibs fan :)

frakessmee
Hull keeper agrees Hibs loan

I

t's just a ride. Bill Hicks is sorely missed, what a prophet and still relevant twenty years after his death. I'm glad though he didn't get to see George Bush Jnr as President.

thesza888
Wilshere: Is He Smoking Enough?

W

hile not comparing the ability of Wilshire to Dr Socrates of Brazil, didn't he do about forty a day?

nedsmar
Wilshere sorry for smoking

Footer 365

Transfer news: Arsenal sign defender Calum Chambers from Southampton

Arsenal have signed defender Calum Chambers from Southampton for a fee believed to be in the region of £16million.

Indian Super League: Former Arsenal and France winger Robert Pires to play in ISL

World Cup winner and former Arsenal winger Robert Pires will participate in the inaugural Indian Super League.

Transfer news: Harry Redknapp denies Loic Remy failed Liverpool medical

QPR manager Harry Redknapp has rubbished claims Loic Remy's move to Liverpool broke down over a failed medical.

Mail Box

No Wonder Wenger Doesn't Buy British

That's if reports that Calum Chambers cost Arsenal £16m are to be believed. The English premium shows no signs of disappearing. Plus, worrying about poor Southampton...

Reasons To Believe That Van Gaal Will Be The Best

Some supporters sound oh so confident on Louis Van Gaal's excellence. Plus thoughts on shirt sales, best signings, football sevens and a good deal more besides...

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