Michael O’Neill refusing to hide from criticism after latest disappointing result

NO HIDING PLACE: Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill with David Healy

NO HIDING PLACE: Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill with David Healy

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Michael O’Neill insists he won’t hide from any post mortems into Northern Ireland’s disappointing run of results.

Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Azerbaijan saw O’Neill go seven games without a win since succeeding Nigel Worthington back in January.

You have to date back to August 2011 for the country’s last victory – in a European qualifier against the Faroe Islands at Windsor Park.

Despite the latest attacking malaise on Wednesday night – where Northern Ireland were left to rue a litany of missed chances – O’Neill remains confident his side can make an impact on Group F.

“We are still looking for our first win and we will approach our next game in a positive mood,” he said.

“When I look back at the seven games I wouldn’t have done anything differently.

“I have picked the strongest teams available, and I am more than happy to take the responsibility for results.

“We have got the right response from the players, and I believe the results will come to us.

“The reality is when you see what the players gave on Wednesday, you have to be positive.

“At the end of the day the effort and commitment was there. I can’t question that.

“For me, I think they have shown great character in the four qualifiers. That is beyond question.

“Bit by bit we are becoming stronger as a squad and as a team.

“I am first to admit that this latest result isn’t good enough, but that’s where we are. We have drawn two games at home we should have won, so we will try and make up for that in the other games.

“These are games where we expect to win, but ultimately we haven’t done that.”


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