Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland's positive play will bring results, insists Saville

 

Fed up: George Saville wants to have that winning feeling
Fed up: George Saville wants to have that winning feeling

By Steven Beacom

George Saville believes Northern Ireland are improving as a team but insists moving forward they need to match the positive performances with positive results.

The Middlesbrough midfielder admitted he felt deflated after Sunday's injury-time 2-1 defeat at home to Austria in the Nations League, stating that the Windsor Park fans deserved more for their passionate support.

The weekend loss meant that Northern Ireland ended up with zero points from four games in Uefa's new competition.

Saville said: "It was the same as throughout the whole Nations League campaign. We did really well with our performance and it's just that cutting edge that was missing, and ultimately you get punished at this level.

"Losing with the last kick of the game on Sunday was deflating, especially when seconds before we were at the other end trying to win the game and give the fans what they deserve for sticking with us.

"The way we lost was difficult to take.

"It is not the end of the world though. We have to forget about the defeat and take the positives that we have experienced in the Nations League into the Euro qualifiers in March.

"I do feel we are playing well in games and are getting better and better. What we need now is good results to go with those performances."

Saville has become a regular starter in midfield alongside captain Steven Davis for manager Michael O'Neill and says his international experience to date has been a football education.

"Michael brought me in and has been fantastic with me. I'm absolutely loving it and I am learning all the time playing beside Steven Davis and the rest of the lads," said the former Millwall man.

"Now I'm hoping to return to my club and get some game time there and will look forward to March when we'll be back with Northern Ireland again."

Perhaps in the Euro 2020 qualifiers Saville will break his goalscoring duck for Northern Ireland. He was inches away from hitting the net against Austria on Sunday night.

He said: "I have been close to scoring a couple of times now. I will keep knocking on the door and hopefully one will go in."

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