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Over-cautious Worthington tactics have cost Northern Ireland dearly

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington was far too cautious against the Faroe Islands — that’s the view of many fans in the wake of the feeble 1-1 draw.

A defence comprised of centre backs was hardly going to boost Northern Ireland’s attacking options against a well organised outfit managed by experienced former Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr.

Robert Savage, a Northern Ireland fan from Belfast, said: “It was a very poor performance.

“The manager didn’t put out the most attacking of sides.

“He should perhaps have started with Sammy Clingan, who would have given us that wee bit more creativity.

“All the other sides in the group will take six points off the Faroes so we’ve missed a great opportunity.

“In terms of qualification we are still in there fighting, but it’s now going to be very difficult.

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“We had a good away win against Slovenia, a battling draw against Italy — and now this. It has undone the good work of the opening two games.”

Fellow Northern Ireland fan Ricky Andrews felt Worthington needed full backs with the ability to support the attack.

“We needed wing backs who could get forward. As well as that, we are relying on players who aren’t getting a game at their clubs — surely the likes of Rory Patterson must be given a chance,” he said.

Brian Boyd, who runs the Times Bar on Belfast’s York Road, also felt the endeavour put in in the first two games was undone.

“It was an atrocious display after the great performances in the first two games,” he said.

“Winning in Slovenia was a super result for us and we had chances against Italy so only drawing with a Faroes was such a big disappointment. All the players gave 100 per cent but we just seem to lack a bit of quality.

“When the onus is on us to win games we just don’t seem to be able to do so.

“The Faroes are one of lowest ranked nations in the world so that makes the result very disappointing, especially after the hard work put in against Slovenia and Italy.

“We basically played with four centre backs. Steven Davis could have played in a more advanced role and Sammy Clingan should have started. We basically seemed to be set up not to concede goals. Some of our crossing was also very poor.

“All teams these days are well organised — you have to be able to break them down.

“Part of our problem is that too many of our players are not starting for their clubs — they need to be playing regularly.”

Brian admitted he would await with interest the verdict on the abandoned match between Italy and Serbia , with visiting fans seemingly being blamed for the trouble.

“Serbia, along with Slovenia and Estonia, are our main challengers for a play-off place so however the authorities deal with the Serbs could have a major bearing on our chances,” he added.


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