Ian Baraclough insists the Northern Ireland squad will “stick together” and come back stronger for next month’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final following Monday’s 5-1 thumping by Norway.
Northern Ireland were soundly beaten by Lars Lagerback’s side in their Nations League Group B1 game, the visitors cruising to victory thanks to Mohamed Elyounoussi’s opener and braces from Alexander Sorloth and the hugely impressive Erling Haaland.
Baraclough takes his side to Bosnia-Herzegovina on October 8 in what will be only his third game in charge of the national team and the 49-year-old is confident his players’ confidence will withstand the humbling nature of Monday’s defeat at Windsor Park.
“We can’t give away chances like that and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb,” he told reporters.
“We knew that we were going to be stretched in these two games. When you are not at your best you are at the risk of being punished.
“We didn’t throw in the towel and we are a group that will stick together and we will be strong together.
— Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) September 7, 2020
“You can’t say we didn’t work hard. There are lots of aspects that we will brush up on, and that will come with more training under their belts and more games.
“They’ll get that now when they go back to their clubs and the season will start now for many of them. When we get back together for Bosnia next month then we will be in a much stronger place as a squad.”
Led by one of the world’s most exciting young talents in Haaland, Norway were irrepressible in attack. Baraclough, though, thought they were helped by his own side’s accommodating defending.
“We’ve been done by two diagonal balls for the goals, and they are little things that don’t happen when players are up to speed, into their stride and playing games regularly for their clubs,” he added.
“We gave them far too much space in those situations and that is something that we have to take on the chin.”
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