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Noel King urges Republic of Ireland Under-21s to put Italy loss behind them

Republic of Ireland Under-21s boss Noel King has told his players to forget surrendering their 100 per cent start to ensure they enter 2016 firmly in the hunt for European Championship qualification.

The Republic's run of three successive victories came to an end in Italy last month when they were beaten by the only goal, but they resume in Lithuania on Friday still sitting joint top of the Group 2 with the Italians and Serbia, who have played one game fewer, and Slovenia, who have played one more.

King said: "We played well in Italy. We had some smashing attacking patches, some excellent defending, created plenty of chances - but that game is gone.

"We didn't get anything out of that particular match. Italy away is always tough and we look back and try to learn from it.

"We're now looking at Lithuania. We're trying to win this game and it would be great to get the three points obviously, and then you are looking to go into the new year still joint-top of the group.

"We're confident that we can do that and that hopefully on the night everything works out as we've planned."

Ireland will be looking to complete a double over the Lithuanians in Vilnius after beating them 3-0 in Waterford last month thanks to goals from Callum O'Dowda, Conor Wilkinson and Alan Browne.


From Belfast Telegraph