Stoke City’s Jordan Thompson says the Northern Ireland players need to put on a show for the Windsor Park faithful against Cyprus in the Nations League today.
Thompson made his first appearance of this international window on Thursday in Kosovo and while the visitors lost 3-2, the midfielder impressed after coming on as a substitute, almost inspiring a comeback with dangerous deliveries and an ability to move Ian Baraclough’s side forward.
The 25-year-old is returning from injury but if fit enough would be a strong option to start this afternoon as Northern Ireland attempt to win their first Nations League match after poor results this month, losing to Greece and Kosovo and drawing away to the Cypriots.
“We can’t be down in the dumps, we’ve got to go to Windsor and put on a show and try and get a result,” said Thompson. “The results in the three games haven’t been there. Sunday is massive for us. We’re at Windsor with our own fans behind us so we’re looking forward to it.”
Recent results have piled the pressure on Baraclough.
Thompson said: “He’s been the exact same since day one. In the games there’s been a few younger boys, we’ve had a few injuries as well so it’s going to take a wee bit of time. In the camp there’s frustration for everyone I think because results aren’t coming but we’ve got to stick together.
“Against Kosovo I think the timing of their goals killed our momentum. We have to learn from our mistakes, just wee errors in our play that’s leading to goals and it has been throughout the campaign.
“The fans were brilliant again, travelling in their numbers. They just want to win as much as we do to build a bit of momentum, to give ourselves confidence.”
On his injury issue and coming on in Pristina to create Daniel Ballard’s headed goal and cause danger with other set-pieces, Thompson added: “I’ve been out a couple of weeks with an ankle injury so I’m building my minutes up, getting my fitness and sharpness back. I was delighted to get on the pitch.
“I just tried to whip them into a good area and from one we got a goal which was pleasing.”