Jeff Hendrick praised Ireland’s work rate as Martin O’Neill’s side wore down Georgia and have every chance of grabbing the playoff spot in Euro 2016 at Scotland’s expense.
“There was a great work rate from the lads all night. We stuck at it and then got the result we need. We looked to try and just get on the ball in the final third,” said Hendrick.
“Its tight and you can try and do different things but whenever I can get the chance, I tried to get in there,” said Hendrick his telling trickery setting up Jon Walters 69th minute winner.
“We’ve two tough matches,” said Hendrick. “We have to get ourselves ready, we go away with our clubs, but the minute we come back we will refocus and fully prepared for the games.”
Glenn Whelan picked up a second yellow card in the second half and will miss the home date with Germany. Hendrick played down any chances of being an automatic selection in Martin O’Neill’s plans.”
“I’ve been happy that I’ve been playing, I’m sure the manager will have a few players in mind, a lot of players give 100% and that’s all we ask for,” said the Derby County midfielder.
Hendrick said Martin O’Neill gave clear instructions at half time, Ireland not having not imposed themselves sufficiently for the majority of the game’s opening.
“We had to make sure we got into their faces and put them under a lot of pressure,” said Hendrick.
“We knew if we kept a clean sheet we’d have the chances to score goals. We did and right at the end with James (McClean’s) shot, on another day that would have slotted in, but we got the three points and worked hard,” he said.
Hendrick, who played in central midfield, was told by O’Neill to try and get forward to offer something on the left-hand side, which he did to effect for Ireland’s winner.
“Obviously with the formation we’re playing we have to get out to the side,” said Hendrick. “With Seamus going down the right with that pace and his delivery, but I have to give them an option going down the left side.”
“We did what we had to do,” said Irish vice-captain John O’Shea.
“Six points. We could have played better and done a lot of things better but if we qualify that won’t be remembered.“ “Clean sheets and thankfully Jonny Walters has stuck that away,” said the Waterford man.
“Everything has gone our way but nothing is done yet.” Added O’Shea: “We still know what we have to do to get to France. There’s still a lot of work to do.
“We’ll enjoy tonight, lots of positives, Jeff Hendrick, that run for the goal, incredible. Lots of positives but lots of work to do,” said O’Shea.
“I wouldn’t say nerves, no,” said O’Shea of Ireland’s first-half performance. “Obviously Georgia are coming with that bit more freedom a bit like Armenia in the previous campaigns when they know they can’t qualify.”
“They had a great result against Scotland and they came and played with a little bit of freedom. They have some solid players too and they had that confidence,” said O’Shea.
The Sunderland centre back was quick to point out the swing in momentum to Ireland: “Because of the games we had, six points we take care of ourselves and whatever happens. We’ll see how things lie then. We did what we had to do.”
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