Miralem Pjanic admitted Bosnia-Herzegovina were fortunate to leave Belfast with a 2-1 Nations League victory, conceding Northern Ireland were the better team.
Former Real Madrid and Barcelona midfielder Robert Prosinecki secured a win in his first competitive game in charge, who had just 32 per cent of possession and five shots compared to the hosts’ 26.
Haris Duljevic and Elvis Saric punished some slack Northern Ireland defending by scoring either side of half-time, yet Pjanic conceded Prosinecki’s side got out of jail by taking all three points.
“We were a little bit lucky; they played a very good game,” the Juventus midfielder told Omnisport.
“They put us in very difficult situations because they play long balls and play very physical. For us, it was maybe not the easiest thing because we prefer to play the ball down on the field. It was not easy against this team.
“I think maybe they were also the better team, but we were more concrete, we scored two times. The last games for us were very good in the defensive part but we have some things to do better when we attack.
@NFSBiH start with a win
— UEFA Nations League (@UEFAEURO) September 8, 2018
“For us, it’s very important to start with a victory and we hope now against Austria to win in the second game.”
Northern Ireland, who rarely dominate proceedings in the way they did against Bosnia-Herzegovina at Windsor Park, grabbed a consolation goal late on through substitute Will Grigg.
They were 2-0 behind at that point having failed to detect Duljevic’s run to meet Edin Dzeko’s first-half cross before Saric capitalised on a mix-up between Craig Cathcart and competitive debutant Bailey Peacock-Farrell.
“I said to the players, we’ve played a lot worse and won,” Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill added.
“To have the level of domination we had in the game, the level of possession, it’s a sore one. It’s a good lesson as well because I think it shows the nature of international football, you do get punished.
“We shouldn’t have conceded the first goal really, it was a poor goal for us to concede, and we should have been ahead by then anyway.
“Then the second goal and the nature of it was a little bit of a hammer blow.”
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