Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill was proud of his players’ efforts but clearly upset despite at failing to qualify for the World Cup on a sad night for Irish football, writes Ger McCarthy.
“We were well beaten in the end, no question about that,” commented the Irish manager to RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue.
“Got off to a great start, maybe James chance might have made a big, big difference in the game. However, we conceded two real sloppy goals in a couple of minutes and it was a long way back after that.
“I don’t know about psychology but the two goals we conceded were so, so sloppy. We should still be able to clear the ball and haven’t been able to do that. The next goal is a comedy of mistakes. In a game of such importance, the whole mindset changes when you are 2-1 down inside a couple of minutes when perhaps you might have been 2-0 up.”
“We have to try and create something so obviously you are going to keep (Daryl) Murphy on at centre forward and try and get something into the penalty area. You are hoping Wes might be able to work something for us and the same for McGeady.
“As for taking off our two central midfielders, well that’s the name of the game, we had to go for it and not die wondering. We had had to try and get two goals back and that’s not easy.”
"We can come back again" - A defiant Martin O'Neill speaks to @corktod after a "really tough" night for his Irish team #irlden #rtesoccer pic.twitter.com/0OaGVwle6t— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 14, 2017
When asked by Tony O’Donoghue if the result was a humiliation, the Irish manager’s demeanour noticeably changed.
“I would say we were well beaten,” stated O’Neill.
“It will not be very hard to come back from this. We are capable of coming back. We have been beaten in a play-off. We have actually beaten Germany here not so long ago but we have been well beaten tonight. In the end, we have lost a play-off game to try and take us to the World Cup.”
“This is big, big football. Remarkably we came back to draw 2-2 with Serbia and they went on to win the group. This is tough. We find it tough as we are usually playing against sides of superior quality. “
A distraught James McClean was barely able to put the defeat into words but admitted that Ireland didn’t help their cause despite getting off to a terrific start.
“I don’t know what to say, we shot ourselves in the foot,” commented the West Bromwich Albion winger to RTE’s Tony O’Donoghue.
“We got a great start but after that, I don’t know what to say. I’m just devastated, not just for us but for the supporters. It’s been a long campaign and we have just let ourselves down. Maybe so (heart and soul not being enough), I just don’t know. I think that they (Denmark) were just better. I don’t know what to say as I’m devastated.”
"They were just better than us... I don't know what to say... I am just devastated" - Fair play to James McClean for fronting #Irlden pic.twitter.com/j2dJlQbg8g— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) November 14, 2017