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Julian Taylor

Bulgaria stalemate showed Ian Baraclough's risk averse streak and Northern Ireland's inexplicable flatness are seriously hampering efforts

Julian Taylor


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Ian Baraclough's only win in his opening 11 games as Northern Ireland manager came on penalties in Bosnia in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.

Ian Baraclough's only win in his opening 11 games as Northern Ireland manager came on penalties in Bosnia in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.

William Cherry/Presseye

Ian Baraclough's only win in his opening 11 games as Northern Ireland manager came on penalties in Bosnia in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final.

If the opening night of Northern Ireland’s latest World Cup qualifying campaign, against Italy, unsurprisingly yielded no blue riband return, then last night, at Windsor Park, the visit of Bulgaria had box seat potential for Ian Baraclough’s men to get up and running in Group C.

The dreariness of a 0-0 draw epitomised a virtually inexplicable flatness in parts with the national team, when even an unsophisticated cavalier charge may have made the difference. This is something supporters will have most trouble coming to terms with today.

The pressure to win these games at home comes with the modern territory, particularly in view of a barren, if unfortunate, seam of form and 10 members of the squad still surviving from the hazy days of Euro 2016.


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