Stuart Dallas believes Northern Ireland have taken a step forward after their scoreless draw away to the Czech Republic in opening game of their Group C World Cup qualifying campaign.
Michael O’Neill’s side weathered the storm against the Czechs and came away with a hard earned point and Dallas says they took positives from them their performance in Prague.
“Yeah, we looked at it the other night when we first met up. We had a meeting about the game.
“We went over the game to analyse what we could have done better and what we did well.
“Michael and his backroom staff always analyse everything and you learn from all that.
“Hopefully we can take it into the next few games.”
In years gone by a draw away to the Czexh Republic would have been hailed as a success but Dallas says this sqaud expects more.
“I think we’ve brought that on ourselves in terms of how well we’ve done in the last year or two.
“To go to Prague and be disappointed with a point, but on the other hand we were maybe lucky to come away with a point. They missed a few big chances.
“It could turn out to be a big point for us.
“We always set out to win the game, but if you can’t do that, you’ve got to make sure you don’t lose it. We did that.
“We’ve given ourselves a platform now looking ahead to the next games,” he added.
Northern Ireland now face San Marino in Belfast tomorrow before travelling to face Germany on Tuesday.
And Dallas believes a win is the only option against San Marino and a more attacking formation will suit him better.
“It probably will. There aren’t too many games we’ll go into where we have the majority of the ball.
“It’s going to be a different game for us, but we’ve worked hard this week.
“We expect to have a lot of the ball and we expect to win the game.
“We can’t change too much and we’ve got to do what we’re good at.
“We’ve got to do what got us success in the recent campaign and I’m sure it’ll take care of itself.”
And Dallas says scoring at a packed National Stadium is what dreams are made of.
“Growing up, it’s always something I’ve dreamt of – first and foremost to score for my country, but also to score a goal at Windsor in front of a packed house would be incredible.
“But I’ve always said it’s not about me, it’s about winning.
“We’ve got to win all our home games. We want to give ourselves a platform to build upon,” said Dallas.
“It’s also important to start well in every game, not just this game.
“If you start well, the crowd will be behind us.
“They’re expecting us to go out and win the game, but that comes from ourselves, because we’ve had success.
“We’re expected to go and beat the majority of teams we come up against.
“It’s going to be one of those games where we have a lot of the ball and they might be hard to break down.
“We’ve got to be patient and positive.
“I’m pretty sure when we get one goal, we can go on and put more pressure on them.
“It’ll also be good to get back since the Kop went back up. It’ll be good to be a full house.
“We haven’t had a qualifier there since the Greece game when the atmosphere was incredible.
“I’m sure it’ll be good again on Saturday night, but the main thing is that we get the win and the points.”