Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Win mind games, says Worthington

As Northern Ireland stars touch down in Europe's newest party capital, Rica, Nigel Worthington warned his squad they must get down to the real hard work.

Northern Ireland currently sit second in Group F and if they are to remain on course to qualify for next summer's European Championships, a win will be vital in Latvia on Saturday evening.

New boss Worthington last night insisted he hasn't even thought about anything other than three points in both games of this double header against the Baltic state and Iceland - and his side will have the same mindset.

"It is fair to say the really hard work begins now and these two away games will be crucial in this qualifying campaign," said Worthington.

"These games will determine whether we are fighting it out at the top of the group or scrapping around for points in the final three games hoping for a second place finish.

"Away games always have that little bit extra to them and the players will have to be 100 percent focused if we are going to achieve the two wins.

"Mentally they need to be right and we need to forget about the likes of Sweden, Spain and Denmark. It's all about what we can do. We have watched DVDs of our opponents and the players don't need me to tell them what's at stake. Six points is what we have come here for and nothing else has even entered my mind."