Belfast Telegraph

Swedes were lucky they weren't mashed, insists Healy

By Paul Ferguson

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer David Healy last night claimed Group F leaders Sweden were lucky to escape with a point.

Twenty-year-old Kyle Lafferty scored Northern Ireland's equalising goal in the 1-1 draw in Stockholm midway through the second half after Aston Villa's Olof Mellberg gave Sweden an undeserved lead on 15 minutes.

It could prove to be a vitally important point as Northern Ireland still have slim hopes of reaching their very first European Championship finals next summer in Austria and Switzerland.

But Healy, who ran his heart out once again for his country, believes Northern Ireland should have been returning today from Sweden with all three points.

Healy said: "Our kit man Derek McKinley went into the Swedish dressing room after the match to try and swap a few shirts but they were still locked in and not happy at what had happened.

"That just shows you how good a result this was. I think the Swedes should be chuffed that they got a point out of a game they were battered in.

"We knew we were more capable of getting this outcome and I think it bodes well for the future.

"I don't know if they took their foot of the gas after scoring but we kept the ball well, passed it well and went for the win.

"You could sense that their fans were getting edgy ? they expected to win three or four nil.

"After all we were supposed to be "lambs to the slaughter" and that just didn't happen.

"We know we must now beat Denmark and I'm sure we will take the opportunity."

Healy was thrilled that strike partner Lafferty, who was only back in the side because of Warren Feeney's suspension, scored his third international goal and he also insisted this result should answer a few questions raised about Nigel Worthington's management after last month's shocking results in Latvia and Iceland.

Healy beamed: "People seem to forget that Kyle is still so young and we were all delighted for him. He scored a goal and what a goal it was.

"And I'm also pleased for Nigel. A lot was said after the last two games and a lesser man would have been sunk. Sometimes it's not down to the manager - 11 players let him down last month."

Belfast Telegraph


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