Belfast Telegraph

Czech Republic 0-0 Northern Ireland: A point in the right direction says Michael O'Neill

Boss happy with Czech draw

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill believes that the point gained in the 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic in Prague could prove vital in his side's quest for World Cup qualification.

The Czechs were the dominant force for long periods of the opening Group C clash, but a mixture of poor finishing from the home side and excellent defending from Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley ensured that the visitors kept a clean sheet, leaving them the more content team at the final whistle.

O'Neill belives his players can use last night's result to bank maximum points at Windsor Park against San Marino and Azerbaijan before the end of the year and hope to take something from a trip to World Champions Germany in between.

"We're pleased with a point. It's a better point for us than it is for them. The great thing is that we got off to a good start in a difficult away game," said O'Neill.

"We have a home game against San Marino and a home game against Azerbaijan, we would hope that gives us a platform to take seven points and obviously we will try and take what we can in Germany.

"We said at the outset if we could take seven points or even more from our first four games we would be in a strong position."

O'Neill added: "I thought there were some excellent performances, especially from Jonny Evans and Gareth McAuley at the back."

More: Northern Ireland ride their luck as misfiring Czechs fail to break through

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