O'Neill open to staying on if North make play-offs

Ruben Hill
November 17, 2019

Northern Ireland will be hoping to send outgoing Michael O'Neill off with one final hurrah as global boss when they take on the Netherlands tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

Manager Michael O'Neill stopped short of confirming he would remain in charge should Northern Ireland reach the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs, but conceded "that's the plan".

Northern Ireland face the Netherlands in Belfast on Saturday and Germany in Frankfurt on Tuesday in their final Group C fixtures, knowing automatic qualification is highly unlikely but they are now well placed for the play-offs.

That match may have ended in a 2-0 defeat after Serge Gnabry's late goal, but Northern Ireland enjoyed plenty of the ball and but for some more clinical finishing might have pulled off a surprise.

O'Neill's men have already assured themselves of a place in the play-offs for Euro 2020, but will be hoping they can at least keep their automatic qualification hopes alive with a win tonight.

"You can't play well against Germany for 90 minutes, there is going to be a period when they come to the fore. We aim to make it as uncomfortable for the Dutch as possible". At Stoke we have 12 or 13 players on global duty so they are away as well.

With the two continental powerhouses sitting three points ahead going into the final set of games, Northern Ireland need to win at least one of the games to have a chance at automatic qualification for Euro 2020 - something Davis admits will be "very hard".

"It is pretty similar to when we meet up with Northern Ireland so it won't faze me at all".

"Against these teams we won't create half a dozen chances".

Koeman apologised for any offence caused and blamed the referee for not clamping down on the apparent time-wasting but added: "If they like to take it as extra motivation ... good luck".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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