Seamus Coleman has warned the Republic of Ireland they will need to play with greater composure if they are to compete with the best in international football.
A much-changed Ireland team lost 2-0 to World Cup qualifiers France in Paris on Monday night – but the margin of victory may have been greater as they repeatedly squandered possession to a technically superior outfit.
Coleman, one of four men in the side at the Stade de France who had started against the same opposition in a hard-fought 2-1 defeat at the Euro 2016 finals, admitted they had not been good enough on the ball this time around to get themselves into the game.
He said: “It was a tough night for us. As we know, they are a top team and they will be there or thereabouts in the summer.
“We knew we had to defend for a lot of the night, which is only normal against a team like that. We did that quite well at times and to concede from a set-piece and another goal that was maybe a little bit sloppy is disappointing.
“We’re just disappointed with how we were on the ball. We were a bit rash, a bit rushed and that goes for the 11 players that were out there tonight. We weren’t composed enough on the ball.
“We knew it was going to be tough out of possession, but we had a few chances to get the ball down and we lost it sloppily from the likes of throw-ins, and it’s disappointing. The manager made us aware of that and we’ll have to look at it.”
Ireland were ultimately done amid a torrential downpour by strikes from Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir inside four minutes at the end of the season half, the latter courtesy of an error by goalkeeper Colin Doyle.
Coleman, who is hoping for better against the USA in Dublin on Saturday, said: “We’re not going to point the finger at anyone. Very few of us could come out of there with our heads held high.
“It’s not just Colin, it was a few of us – myself included – who weren’t good enough on the ball.
“We’ll take it on the chin. We need to improve and maybe on Saturday we’ll see a little bit more of the ball and show our composure a bit better.”