Plenty to take out of friendlies says Ian Baraclough

Ian Baraclough says he has plenty to take out of Northern Ireland’s two recent friendly games.

Friday, 4th June 2021, 6:02 am

They wrapped up their schedule with a narrow 1-0 defeat in Ukraine last night after their win over Malta on Sunday.

Baraclough was able to get a good look at his squad and even blood several young players ahead of September’s World Cup qualifiers.

“I couldn’t fault the effort of my players again. We’ve had ten or eleven tough days coming at the end of a long season and I’m taking loads out of the two games,” he told Sky Sports.

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Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough

“We’ve brought young players into the squad and given them a taster of what it’s like.

“Conor Bradley and Sam McClelland have both got on the pitch and can now go away and work on their game and hope for more of this in the future.”

Northern Ireland bounced back from Oleksandr Zubkov’s 10th minute goal creating a number of good chances in the second half, they couldn’t find the target but Baraclough was pleased with the display.

“I don’t like losing games but I can’t be too disappointed with the performance,” he said.

“You’re up against a Ukraine team that are preparing for the Euros and they’ve been very strong at home.

“They are a really talented team and they’ll be going to the Euros hoping to upset one or two.

“They started with a high energy and at times we failed to get that first pass away.

“The goal is one which could have been avoided.

“Hopefully we get that out of our system before September and tighten up on those things."

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