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McCarthy putting points over anything as Republic eye Euro 2020

Ireland launched their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a narrow win in Gibraltar.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy will settle for victory over Georgia however it comes (Simon Galloway/PA)
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy will settle for victory over Georgia however it comes (Simon Galloway/PA)

Mick McCarthy will take a win over Georgia however it comes as the Republic of Ireland target qualification for the Euro 2020 finals.

McCarthy admitted he hated every minute of Saturday evening’s 1-0 victory in Gibraltar as his team laboured to break down largely part-time opposition on a plastic pitch in the teeth of a gale.

Asked how the Republic can spark the kind of atmosphere his team played in during his first spell in charge, he said: “I guess a fast, attacking, aggressive Irish performance that I think we all appreciate.

“It’s not going to be easy because they’ll be difficult to play against, but outside all of that, I’ll still take a win however it comes.

“That’s my intention of how to play – let’s see if that bears fruit. But let’s hope we win because the object for me with seven games to go is to qualify for the Euros.”

McCarthy admits he is excited at the prospect of sending out a team once again at the Lansdowne Road venue with fans desperate for something to cheer as Martin O’Neill’s final calendar year at the helm brought few goals and even fewer victories.

Asked if that added any pressure to his job, McCarthy said: “What has happened in the past doesn’t increase any pressure on me at all.

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It was a below-par first game back in charge for Mick McCarthy (Simon Galloway/PA)

“I’ve started with a pretty ordinary performance and got three points, the same three points that it would have been if we’d played brilliantly and won by more goals.

“The history of it doesn’t bother me. There’s no more pressure on me than having to stand in front of 45,000 people who have got great goodwill towards me and are all expecting good things from us all.

“There’s enough pressure. I don’t let other things affect me.”

McCarthy has only one fresh injury concern with central defender Shane Duffy due to undergo a precautionary scan on an ankle injury he picked up in Gibraltar, although he and his players may have another issue with which to contend.

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John Delaney is leaving his post (Brian Lawless/PA)

Reports have suggested some fans are planning protests – one claims supporters will throw tennis balls on to the pitch against controversial outgoing Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney, who, it was announced on Saturday evening, is to take up the newly-created role of executive vice-president.

McCarthy urged them instead to back the team, although did proffer one solution.

He said: “I’ve been at games, I’ve been at Charlton when people have done it, and it’s not going to help us play any better, that’s for sure, so I hope that’s not the case.

“They’re coming to watch a football match and they want us to win and give us the best chance, and that’s getting behind us and not having any outside influences affecting that.

“But I can’t do anything about it if they do. Maybe I’ll take a tennis racket with me.”

PA

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