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New boss hopes for fans' backing

Michael O'Neill has called for Northern Ireland fans to welcome in a new era by throwing their support behind the team at Windsor Park.

O'Neill takes charge of his country for the first time against Norway, with a new captain in tow in the shape of Rangers midfielder Steven Davis. And the former Shamrock Rovers boss is also hoping for a fresh start with the Green and White Army, who grew audibly frustrated towards the end of a disappointing Euro 2012 campaign.

"It's a new start under a new manager," said O'Neill.

Former manager Nigel Worthington shouldered most of the flak then and O'Neill has appealed for supporters to back their team from the off against Egil Olsen's side.

"You can understand the frustration of the supporters, but no-one feels the pain of defeat any more than the players, I can assure them of that," said O'Neill.

"I think as a supporter it's important to recognise how positive their influence can be, not only for our team but also in making the atmosphere hostile for the opposition.

"An energetic and positive performance from the lads can hopefully transmit into a positive atmosphere (in the stands).

"It's no secret the last campaign finished on a disappointing note. The players know that, everyone knows that, but that unrealistic weight of expectancy is something the players have maybe struggled to deal with in the past. A bit of perspective would be nice."

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