Northern Ireland have to learn from this insists Ian Baraclough
Ian Baraclough told his Northern Ireland players that they need to learn from the manner of their defeat to Bulgaria as their World Cup qualification hopes ended in Sofia last night.
Conor Washington gave the visitors a deserved first half lead after a lengthy VAR check, but Northern Ireland wasted several other opportunities to kill the game.
And it proved costly as as two sublime strikes from Todor Nedelev won the game for the hosts and ended Baraclough’s boys slim hopes of heading to Qatar next summer.
“We’ve got to learn from it. We’ve brought new players into the squad, and we’ve got to learn from what we’ve made difficult for ourselves and take that into next month,” the Northern Ireland boss told Sky Sports afterwards.
“We want to finish the campaign in a strong, positive way with two home games and give our fans something to look forward to beyond the World Cup.
“That game was in our hands, we’d set our stall out, done ever so well to be 1-0 up, and yes it should have been more.
“We have to see the game out or add more to it and we did neither.
“We knew they’d have a spell and come at us, we’d have to deal with it and make sure we were winning balls and winning skirmishes for 20 minutes.
“We didn’t stop that happening and they took two half-chances – they were half-chances, one on the edge of the box with a first-time strike, a great strike, and the second one was even better.
“If you talk about a team being clinical, there’s an example.”