Mick McCarthy happy to take the three points after ‘horrible’ game

‘I didn’t enjoy a single minute of it until the final whistle’

Republic of Ireland assistant coach Robbie Keane and manager Mick McCarthy celebrate Jeff Hendrick’s goal in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Gibraltar at Victoria Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Republic of Ireland assistant coach Robbie Keane and manager Mick McCarthy celebrate Jeff Hendrick’s goal in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Gibraltar at Victoria Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy admitted that his team had played poorly here in Gibraltar but said that he would be happy enough to take a repeat of the 1-0 win against Georgia next Tuesday.

McCarthy described Ireland’s opening game of the new qualifying campaign as “horrible,” adding that, “I didn’t enjoy a single minute of it until the final whistle. We were playing against a team with nothing to lose and everything to gain. The game was played in a howling gale and the surface didn’t help either but I’m not using any of that as an excuse; we haven’t played terribly well, but I said that we could only create momentum by winning a game and that’s exactly what we have done.”

The manager said that he was happy to see Jeff Hendrick get on the scoresheet after having worked with the midfielders generally on that side of things and talking specifically to the Burnley midfielder about the way in which he should be adding more goals to his game.

More generally, he said, he felt the players did their best in the conditions even if they didn’t win the match as easily as might have been expected. He admitted that not everything had gone to plan and that the decision to play Matt Doherty on the right side of midfield had not yielded the desired results.

“This was set up for an upset,” he said. “Playing on the plastic with the wind blowing in a game against a team that have been together for a while and done all right. I said to the players that you turn up, you win and you get three points and then you can whinge all you want but I’m not inclined to do that now. We’ll play better.

Gibraltar, he suggested, had been “brilliant”. They were “very commited, they had a right go at it and Darren Randolph’s got my man of the match award [for the save he made just after half-time].

“It’s been our first game here. It’s supposed to be easy coming here but you’ve seen it; it’s not easy. It’s up to all the other teams now to come here and win like we’ve done.”

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