Monday, 09 December, 2019

O'Neill feels Mexico defeat was 'excellent preparation' for Ireland

Ireland's John Aldridge has to be restrained by coach Maurice Setters as he indicates to the fourth official how long he has been waiting to take his place on the pitch as substitute for Tommy Coyne who had already left the pitch and was sat O'Neill feels Mexico defeat was 'excellent preparation' for Ireland
Christy Curtis | 03 June, 2017, 02:06

That left Cyrus Christie and captain-for-the-night James McClean operating as wing-backs, although the Mexicans brutally exploited the space they left behind and led 2-0 with just 25 minutes gone courtesy of Jesus Corona's strike and Raul Jimenez's penalty.

Mexico ended their preparation ahead of their World Cup Qualifiers against Honduras and the United States by defeating the Republic of Ireland 3-1 on Thursday. They were very good, dealt with the ball very well and I thought were much fitter than us.

First-choice players such as Shane Duffy and James McClean looked rusty and error-prone at times, while the likes of Conor Hourihane, Callum O'Dowda, John Egan and David McGoldrick did little to suggest they deserve to graduate from their current status as fringe members of the squad.

REPUBLIC of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill was far from dispirited despite seeing his team, which included debutant Burnley defender Kevin Long, taught a lesson by Mexico.

Substitute Stephen Gleeson pulled one back on 77 minutes when he followed in a McClean cross and smashed in the rebound from close range.

Chelsea continue talks with Monaco over deal for Bakayoko
United remain interest in Tottenham's Eric Dier, but Matic is considered to be a much more viable option. Sport, Mourinho wants the Serbian to combine with another Frenchman, Paul Pogba , at Old Trafford.

"That's what I said in the last two or three days: let's have a look at it because we might have to do it at some point in our World Cup campaign, we might have to change systems".

Whereas O'Neill's men invariably punted long hopeful balls up to Daryl Murphy and continually surrendered possession cheaply as a result, Mexico's play was full of sharp interplay, intelligent movement and a lightning fast counter-attack that cut through a far too open Irish team with undue ease on numerous occasions. "I thought it was great preparation".

"It's best to go and play these games because they're hard matches and it's all in preparation for Austria".

Ireland sent out an experimental lineup with another friendly against Uruguay still to come before the Austria match, but manager Martin O'Neill was ultimately thankful for the spanking his fringe players received.

"I prefer the players to be in against something rather than in a relatively easy friendly game, if there is such a thing for us, and getting a false confidence about yourself".

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