MX23RW : Tuesday, November 24 13:09:04| >> :600:446205:446205:

Stephen Kenny: 'Squad disruption harmed us against Finland'

Stephen Kenny: 'Squad disruption harmed us against Finland'
© Reuters
Fredrik Jensen's goal condemned Ireland to a 1-0 defeat in Helsinki.

Stephen Kenny cited mitigating factors after his wait for a first win as Republic of Ireland manager was extended to five games in Finland.

Fredrik Jensen's 66th-minute strike secured a 1-0 Nations League win for the Finns in Helsinki as Ireland once again drew a blank at the end of a punishing three-match sequence over the last week.

The defeat in Finland followed last Thursday's Euro 2020 play-off exit on penalties in Slovakia and a 0-0 home draw with Wales at the weekend, but Kenny's task was made all the more difficult by the coronavirus protocols and injuries which decimated his squad.

The manager told Sky Sports: "We've lost eight players through Covid-related issues and we have three players, including our captain Seam Coleman and Harry Arter, who pulled out of the original squad, and then we lost David McGoldrick and James McCarthy, so there are mitigating factors.

"The fact that we could lose eight players the morning of the Welsh game and go and play reasonably well and hold our own against them speaks volumes for the players, really, because they didn't lose in Slovakia, where they were absolutely exceptional.

"Finland played well at times and so did we. It was a pretty even match. Again, we are in the dressing-room wondering did we deserve to lose that, and the answer is no, we probably didn't.

Aaron Connolly reacts after the defeat
Aaron Connolly reacts after the defeat (Emmi Korhonen/PA)

"The players have shown real character and the young players that have come in have shown a great mentality, and I am optimistic that they will go on to be important players for Ireland."

Ireland once again created chances – full-back Enda Stevens hit the crossbar three minutes before what proved to be the game's only goal and Finnish keeper Lukas Hradecky made fine late saves from Matt Doherty and substitute Ronan Curtis to extend their goalless run to six-and-a-half hours of football.

But Teemu Pukki made the most of a rare error by Darren Randolph, picking off the keeper's short goal-kick and crossing for Jensen – who scored the only goal in the meeting in Dublin last month – to again net the winner.

Republic of Ireland fell to another defeat
Republic of Ireland fell to another defeat (Emmi Korhonen/PA)

Kenny said: "You can't legislate for a mistake sometimes and Darren has been very consistent for us. That is his 47th international for us tonight and he has been consistent for a number of years now.

"It's one of those things you have to accept. It was a disappointing goal to concede, of course."

Ireland are due to conclude their campaign in Wales and at home to Bulgaria.

Republic of Ireland's Enda Stevens tries to find a way through
Republic of Ireland's Enda Stevens tries to find a way through (Emmi Korhonen/PA)

But questions are being asked about the November fixtures following the disruption caused by Covid-19 this month.

However, Kenny said: "Society must still continue to exist amidst crisis. You must try to live as normally as you can.

"Do you cancel everything? For how long do you cancel it? Do you cancel it until the vaccine is found? When is that? Nobody has the answer to that.

"Do you just give up? Or do you still accept there will be issues? These are things that have to be discussed."

ID:418381:cQx

Click here for more stories about Stephen Kenny

Click here for more stories about Finland

Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Glen Kamara in action for Rangers on November 28, 2019
Read Next:
Glen Kamara hoping to take Finland form back to Rangers
>
Latest Sports Video
Sports Mole Logo
Enter your email address to subscribe to Sports Mole's free match previews newsletter! Updates are sent twice a week.

rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Tottenham HotspurSpurs96212191220
2Liverpool96212116520
3Chelsea953122101218
4Leicester CityLeicester96031812618
5Southampton95221713417
6Everton95131916316
7Aston Villa85031911815
8West Ham UnitedWest Ham94231510514
9Wolverhampton WanderersWolves9423910-114
10Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
11Crystal Palace94141213-113
12Arsenal9414910-113
13Manchester CityMan City83321011-112
14Leeds UnitedLeeds93241417-311
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle93241015-511
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton92341315-29
17Burnley8125412-85
18Fulham9117918-94
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom9036618-123
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd9018415-111

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!