Glenn Whelan: 'We gave them too much respect'

A frustrating night for the Republic of Ireland ended in a first 2020 European Championship qualifying defeat on a raid-sodden Geneva pitch.

Glenn Whelan: 'We gave them too much respect'

A frustrating night for the Republic of Ireland ended in a first 2020 European Championship qualifying defeat on a raid-sodden Geneva pitch.

Glenn Whelan’s display was one of the few positives taken from a second consecutive disappointing Irish performance.

The Hearts midfielder toiled hard in a three-man midfield but was unable to prevent Switzerland from registering a deserved 2-0 victory.

“I thought in the first half we gave them too much respect,” Whelan noted.

“We stood off them a little bit but in the second half, we had a go and tried to get back in the game. I think, for us, we need to do all of the time. We show teams too much respect and then get sloppy on the ball. If we are on the front foot we will get the fans behind us and give anyone a go.”

Jeff Hendrick, right, and James McClean react after Ireland's loss to Switzerland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Jeff Hendrick, right, and James McClean react after Ireland's loss to Switzerland. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Neither the weather or the playing surface aided Ireland’s cause but the Hearts midfielder was not making any excuses, pointing once again to a disappointing first-half performance.

“It was tough, the pitch was quite heavy, especially down the sides and in the middle,” commented the 35-year-old.

“It was the same for both teams so we cannot really complain about that. Like I said, the first half wasn’t good enough. We can take some positives from the second half but with Ireland, we never do it easy.

“I think we would have taken this beforehand (competition began), having to win one of our two final games. We are still in with a chance and we will give it a good go.

“I try to look after myself as best I can. Obviously I want to play as much as I can but I don’t want to come and hold the lads back. As long as I have a chance of playing and giving something to the team then I’ll be here. If I’m not, I’ll be supporting the lads. I love playing for my country and I want to do it as many times as I can.”

“I think we were pretty poor the first half, it was there for everyone to see,” added Jeff Hendrick.

“We tried to get the ball moving and pass it a bit more but it wasn’t enough. When we got into their final third our final pass wasn’t good enough.”

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