Hughes: Team facing must-win game
Northern Ireland captain Aaron Hughes believes the time may come for his side to "throw caution to the wind" against Estonia on Tuesday.
Defeat to Serbia on Friday left Northern Ireland fifth in Group C and they are now likely to require a maximum nine points from their last three matches to be in with a chance of second place. Estonia are first up and Hughes acknowledges they may have to abandon a safety-first approach in pursuit of victory.
"For the first time ever I have to say this is a must-win game," said the Fulham defender.
"When you get to this stage in the competition you have to win. We know we've got to go and try and win it and try and be positive but not in a gung ho way.
"We don't need to try and win a game in the first 10 minutes, we need to keep the ball down, get ourselves plenty of confidence and we have to be patient. We are on their home patch so they're going to be doing the same. But if we get to the last 10 minutes and if it's 0-0 you know you have to throw a bit of caution to the wind."
While Hughes continues to lead the back four impressively, scoring has been the major problem in the current campaign.
The captain accepts that goals have not been flowing freely but says there is no shortage of confidence in the side.
"We can't put our finger on exactly why (the strikers have struggled) but defensively we have been quite good and frustrated other teams," he said.
"As a team we need to work hard at going forward and causing sides problems, I think we have created opportunities though. Nobody has their head down. We know what we need to do and what is required, training over the last few days has been a good standard.
"I have never been in the squad when the confidence isn't there, we know that everyone will go out and give everything so you hope for a bit of luck and the chance to show some quality too."