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

Latest Articles

Transfer news: Bolton sign former Crewe striker Max Clayton on three-year contract

Post comment

Bolton have completed the capture of former Crewe striker Max Clayton on a three-year contract.

Felix Magath is sacked by Fulham

Post comment

Felix Magath has been sacked by Fulham, with Kit Symons taking over as caretaker manager.

All Articles

Michael O'Neill: Yet to win a game a

Michael O'Neill: Yet to win a game a

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


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.

Footer 365

Europa League: Everton boss Roberto Martinez delighted with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Roberto Martinez was delighted with Everton's display as they brushed aside Wolfsburg to win 4-1 in the Europa League.

Europa League: Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino hits out at Partizan banner

Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino was angered by the "unacceptable" anti-Semitic banner displayed by Partizan fans.

Europa League: Everton open Group H campaign with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Everton opened their Europa League Group H campaign with a convincing 4-1 win over Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.

Mail Box

Why Doesn't Rodgers Play Borini?

One Liverpool supporter thinks this could be Fabio Borini's year, whilst we also have thoughts on the Red Bulls, Welbeck vs Gervinho and Paul Lambert's new deal...

Could Arsenal Benefit From Top Four Exit?

That's one idea in the morning mailbox as the Arsene Wenger debate rumbles on. Plus, comparing Welbeck to Gervinho and some advice for Greg Dyke and the FA...

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