James Collins rues missed chance in loss to Luxembourg

Ireland striker could have put the hosts ahead from close range in the first half

James Collins believes that if he had converted the first half opportunity to give Ireland the lead in their World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg then it might have been a very different night for the hosts but the Luton striker says that having lost the game, the Irish players have to cope with the defeat “like men”.

“The first one was on me,” he said afterwards of a close range shot that he turned straight into the goalkeeper. “I back myself to score that.

“But it’s a really disappointing night. The players know that that wasn’t good enough out there tonight. There’s no point dwelling on it, though, we need to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off like men.”

Collins says he is surprised by the team’s failure to produce the sort of performance required to secure the win they really needed but he said that the players can’t afford to accept that the World Cup campaign might be all but over before.

“We can’t be thinking about it like that,” he said. “We wanted to win the game and I thought that in the second half we had the chances to do that. Obviously Luxembourg came here with a game plan too and they just executed theirs better than we did.

“We have come into this camp with a new system, a new style of play which is supposed to be more attacking, more positive for the strikers with the wing backs and the number 10 and it has gone well in training but it hasn’t gone well out there tonight. We know we need to create more chances.

“The first thing we need to do now, though, is to go into Tuesday’s game and get a positive result because that would give us a lift. Wins generate confidence and so that has to be the priority now.

“It’s not the manager’s fault, that performance tonight,” he said. “The players are the ones who were out there on the pitch. We have to hold our hands up and I’m sure that will be the case.

“As you can imagine the dressing room was really low but there’s no point in dwelling on it. We have to accept it. Digest it. And move on like men. Tomorrow we have to go back to training and start afresh. It wasn’t good enough but all I can say to the fans who were watching is that we will be doing our best to put things right.”

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