Kenny Shiels feels confidence is building in NI squad

Northern Ireland women’s manager Kenny Shiels says his squad are replacing “fear with confidence” after their impressive draw with Switzerland in Marbella.

A brace from Simone Magill secured a 2-2 against the Swiss, who are 29 places higher in the world rankings.

Shiels was delighted with the performance and said they would continue to build the players’ confidence as they build up to this summer’s European Championships.

“We weren’t afraid of them, we matched them and I’m sure they would admit that our performance was better than theirs,” he told BBC Sport.

Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels talks with his team after their draw with Switzerland

“The people of Northern Ireland should be so proud of the girls because gradually we are removing fear and replacing it with confidence.

“If we can continue to do that we know we will maintain our humility because of who we are and where we are from. These girls will never fall into the trap of being over-confident.

“We have to build up the blocks of confidence and take the negativity out of it as we go.”

After a bright start Northern Ireland got their reward two minutes before the break as Everton’s Magill made it 1-0 with a fine finish.

A mistake at the back allowed Aston Villa’s Alisha Lehmann to level in the 51st minute and Ramona Bachmann soon found the back of the net amid another defensive mix-up to give the Swiss the upper hand.

But Magill levelled things up again in the 73rd minutes when she converted a penalty.

Northern Ireland now face Romania at the same venue on Wednesday morning.