Oliver Norwood takes positives from Northern Ireland's defeat to Bosnia

Oliver Norwood in action against Bosnia
Oliver Norwood in action against Bosnia
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Northern Ireland may have suffered defeat in their UEFA Nations League opener but midfielder Ollie Norwood is taking encouragement from one of the best performances he can remember.

Michael O'Neill's side left Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Bosnia and Herzegovina feeling like they had been mugged, having dominated possession and piled up 26 total attempts on target, only to lose as a result of two sloppy goals including a horror mix-up between Craig Cathcart and Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

But while the result stung, Northern Ireland will take encouragement as they look to get back to winning ways in Tuesday's friendly against Israel.

"I think it's the most dominant we've been that I can remember, especially when you consider the quality of the opposition," Norwood said.

"We've dominated games against the likes of San Marino and Azerbaijan but to do it against that level of opposition and come away with nothing is frustrating.

"But we can take heart out of how we played and we look forward to the games coming up."

Norwood was at the heart of much of what Northern Ireland did going forward, and the 27-year-old credited his strong start to the season since joining Sheffield United for giving him the confidence to perform.

"It's nice to be back playing every week again," he said. "A lot of the way we play there goes through me and I feel I'm getting my confidence back now.

"I'm used to playing in that system and it's very similar to how Michael wants us to play going forward."

Another bright spot for Northern Ireland was Niall McGinn's performance as the Aberdeen man was a constant menace down the right-hand side in his first international appearance in 12 months.

McGinn got the nod after an injury to Josh Magennis but did his best to make the most of it as he sent in a string of dangerous crosses and was the first to test Bosnia goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic with a powerful shot after cutting inside.

"I was delighted from a personal point of view that Michael gave me the nod to play and it was my first start in a while," the 31-year-old said.

"When big Josh picked up a wee niggle I thought I might get a chance to get in from the start, as I trained well all week, he said that to me that I had looked sharp in training and thankfully he gave me the opportunity and I thought I did well in the game.

"I just kicked on from obviously doing OK at Aberdeen and I have been playing plenty of football, so for Michael to give me the nod to go in and I knew my job was to get at the full-back, get crosses into the box and obviously create chances for the strikers. I thought I done that and I was really enjoying the game."

McGinn managed 76 minutes before being replaced by Jamie Ward, and is now hoping for another chance to impress against Israel, which has taken on added importance following defeat.

"One-hundred per cent we want to win on Tuesday night," he said.

"That's what Michael said to us after the game, that he wants us to rest now and get our recovery in so that we can go again on Tuesday night. He just wants us to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible.

"The good thing is we have another game so quickly to rectify things."