Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has outlined that he feels his sides disappointing 0-0 draw against Georgia in Tbilisi was a “point gained” rather than two lost.
The Boys in Green had a huge opportunity to take control in the group with a victory over their opponents, but looked flat throughout the game and failed to come away with all three points.
They now face an incredibly difficult away game against Switzerland on Tuesday before next month’s visit of Denmark knowing that a victory in at least one of those games is imperative.
McCarthy, however, outlined that he felt it was a strong point away from home irrespective of the performance and that he would’ve taken four points from two games against the Georgians at the beginning of the campaign.
“It’s a point gained,” he told RTE after the game.
“They’re a very good side and I don’t think they’ve been beaten over there in 10 or 11 games, they’ve had some wins. Had you offered me four points from two games against Georgia prior to the competition I would have taken it.”
Going forward especially, Ireland looked lacklustre – save for a brief cameo from substitute Aaron Connolly – with creativity in the midfield a particular area of concern.
McCarthy admitted that he would’ve liked a little more creativity and cohesion from his side in Tbilisi but highlighted the positives from the display.
“I would like to have had more (cohesion and creativity) but we’ve come away from home and secured a point, it’s a good point in my view.
“We’ve hit the post when I thought it was going in. Aaron Connolly came on and he was unlucky, the ball just wouldn’t come down for him and he put it wide of the near post and he also had a shot on target.
“Duffy could’ve won it for us too with the header at the end. Darren (Randolph) hasn’t made a save in the game, so while we would’ve liked to be better and we always try to be better, the sessions we put on we try and get goals. I’m going away happy with a point.”
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One of the few bright sparks from the game was the aforementioned display from Connolly, who looked lively mustering up a couple of chances in his 13-minute cameo.
Connolly came on for James Collins, who struggled throughout, and although the Irish boss praised the Brighton man he wondered whether he would be able to do some of the things the Luton striker did throughout the game
“Possibly. Possibly,” said McCarthy, when asked if he should’ve introduced Connolly earlier.
“James Collins has had a right royal scrap up against those two (defenders) and to be fair we were picking bits up off him from midfield and what we didn’t do was make the most of them.
“Whether Aaron could’ve done what James did throughout the game is a different matter. He’s given me some nice headaches, Aaron, because he played well.”