WE NEED A WIN, SAYS NORTHERN IRELAND MANAGER O’NEILL AFTER FAMOUS 1-1 DRAW AGAINST PORTUGAL

 

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is hoping for his first win tonight

THEY are not Brazil, they are Northern Ireland.

And manager Michael O’Neill hopes that in his seventh game in charge he can pick up his first win and his first three points.

The mood is high in the Northern Ireland camp despite a number of withdrawals ahead of tonight’s clash with Azerbaijan.

But he hopes to build on the team’s confidence after it famously drew with Portugal 1-1 in their in own back yard.

A Niall McGinn strike put the minnows ahead but a late strike secured Portugal a not so deserved draw.

Now O’Neill is looking for his team to rise to the challenge, cheered on by a packed house at Windsor Park.

The manager, a former Northern Ireland international, has has presided over three draws and three defeats since taking over from Nigel Worthington.

However, he believes tonight’s World Cup qualifier is the ideal chance for his team to get off the mark.

“We’ve played three qualifying games now, with a loss and two draws. It’s time for us to put three points on the board,” he said.

“I’m desperate to get my first win as manager and to get the first win with this group of players.

“It’s hugely important that we start winning games now. We have a four-month break after this game and you want to go into that break on the back of a positive result and a positive performance.

“If we don’t it will be a long three months for me.”

Chris Brunt and Shane Ferguson are back for Windsor Park clash, while Dean Shiels is tipped to partner Kyle Lafferty in attack.

Azerbaijan coach Berti Vogts added: “We have a good team spirit but we are missing seven players. We are disappointed to be missing so many.”

The match is live on Sky Sports from 7.30 pm.

 

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