Ireland picked up a crucial Group D victory against Georgia on Tuesday night in Mick McCarthy’s first game back in charge at Landsdowne Road
The Boys in Green flattered to decieve in difficult conditions against Gibraltar on Saturday picking up a 1-0 win but against Georgia, they looked much improved.
McCarthy brought Glenn Whelan back into the starting XI which allowed his other midfielders Conor Hourihane and Jeff Hendrick to support David McGoldrick up front for Ireland.
Ireland went ahead thanks to a stunning free-kick from Conor Hourihane but unlike performances of old, they opted not to sit back and defend their lead, pushing for a second throughout the game.
Speaking to the media following the game, McCarthy outlined that it was a conscious decision and that he urged his players on at half-time to push on and continue on the front foot.
“That’s how I had set them up to play. At half-time I was conscious and said to them that, ‘whatever we do we don’t back off’, and I said to them if they give me that level of performance and energy for the next 45 minutes, whatever happens, I’ll take it.”
Throughout the game, McCarthy’s men played with a strong and significant shape but also looked as though they had the freedom to get forward when in possession.
Considering Ireland’s struggle for goals in 2018, just four in 12 months, their attacking sequences were a big cause for optimism throughout the game.
McCarthy added that he does insist on some things in regards position and shape but a lot of the onus is on the players to go out and play.
“There are some bits that I insist on that we do starting with positioning and that’s from restarts from goal kicks and throw-ins. Their goal kicks, our goal kicks, there’s things I insist on and I thought they did that well.
“Other than that they have a licence to go and play. The two centre-halves mark the striker and the sitter gets us playing and marks their 10 if he is playing and the rest can go and play, full-backs high up the pitch and go and attack.”
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