Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

We can hold our heads high: Alfie

Northern Ireland manager Alfie Wylie will use the experience of these two games against the top-rated French to take his side to the next level.

“We can take so much out of these two matches and going forward into the rest of the campaign, there's a lot to be positive about,” he said. “We've a few games coming up later in the year and having come through these matches, the only way is forward.”

Wylie felt the French were flattered by the 4-0 score at Windsor Park last night.

“I felt 2-0 would have been a much fairer reflection overall and Rachel Furness had a couple of chances in the first half, and if one of those had gone in it would have been a very different match,” he said. “We had coped very well in the opening stages, so it was a pity to give away such a soft goal early on. But credit to the players, after being beaten 6-0 in France at the weekend their heads could have dropped, but they didn't.

“They all stuck at their task and I thought the back four kept it very tight all night and let the French know they were in a game.”

Wylie concedes that fitness remains a problem and is a key area for his side to improve.

“We had Rachel coming back from injury and she is struggling with her fitness levels and so are a couple of the other players.

“But Rachel showed what a quality player she is tonight and the French were very wary of her any time she was near the ball.

“But I can't speak highly enough of the players. This is one of the best teams in the world and we gave them a match.”

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