Mick McCarthy hails a ‘very Irish’ performance after Switzerland draw
Manager admits he had to chance formation a number of times against Swiss
Mick McCarthy: ‘I had to change the system a couple of times’. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
It was, as he said, a very Irish performance but Mick McCarthy was not complaining as he reflected on another of those nights when a late equaliser had made this result feel a good deal better than it actually was.
The tone of Vladimir Petkovic’s press conference had just a touch of frost about it as the travelling media picked over a performance that had not quite delivered what they clearly felt it deserved and the Swiss coach conceded that it felt like two points dropped.
McCarthy accepted that his side’s advantage at the top of this qualifying group’s table looks rather less impressive in the wake of the draw but the Swiss, he acknowledged, had been the better team before his side dug out the draw, just as they had in Denmark.
“We have got a point against a very good side who for periods of that game dominated the possession which I knew that they would try to do,” said the manager. “They have very athletic players, players who are playing at good clubs.
“I had to change the system a couple of times in order to stem the tide. We had three guys in the middle of the park who had about six games between them so far this season. ‘Why not play somebody else then?’ I hear you cry.
“Well, because they are the ones with the experience and they have shown that again tonight.”
Crucially, he said, this had been a good night because of the character displayed by his players and the sense that they had regained the confidence in their own collective ability that seemed to have deserted them over the course of the year before he returned.
“The way we have played, the way they performed in Denmark and the way the players have carried themselves; it shows that there is belief in the team again,” he said.
“The nature of the way we got that equaliser, the character of the players, their durability; they are absolutely brilliant. We went 1-0 down here as we did in Denmark but the stoic nature of the players, they just keep at it. They give me everything.
“We are not the best team in the group but you are going to put us down before they give up and that’s a lovely trait. In all of my time with Ireland, whether it was playing or before when I was managing, that’s always been a lovely, lovely trait.”