Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

McGinn: Israel taught us hard lesson

Niall McGinn admits Northern Ireland need to learn quick lessons if they are to turn their fortunes around.

 

Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Israel had killed off even the slimmest of hopes that may have lingered about reaching the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014.

However, the more immediate attention turns to getting a win of any description under Michael O’Neill.

To do that McGinn know he and his international team mates cannot repeat the same mistakes.

“It’s massively frustrating. I felt for 75 minutes we played really well and created chances against Israel,” he said.

“We know as players ourselves we have to take those chances and kill teams off when we are on top.

“Unfortunately on Tuesday night when Israel’s chances came along they took them and we were punished.

“On the night I didn’t think Israel played well, but they took those chances and it shows what a good standard international football is.

With Northern Ireland’s next two competitive fixtures against Portugal and Russia, whenever the date is confirmed, there is little let up for O’Neill’s boys.

“It’s going to a massive task, but we have to take the confidence we can from the performances so far,” McGinn said.

“It’s probably going to take that little bit of luck to turn things around sooner rather than later.

“It’s massively frustrating, but you can only look forward to the next game and want to put things right.”

Northern Ireland’s wretched run without a victory couldn’t be in more of a stark contrast to McGinn’s season personally.

With 16 goals already under his belt the former Derry City ace has one more target before the end of the campaign.

“For me personally I’m loving this season and it’s great to be back on the international stage,” said the Aberdeen man.

“Things could be going a bit better for us in the league, but hopefully we’ll turn that round before the end of the season.

“I just want to score a few more goals and I really want to hit that 20 goal mark if I can before the end of the season.

“We’ve two more games before the split and it’s one I’m really looking forward to.

“I’m loving my life and just concentrating on my football and long may it continue.”

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