Claudio Ranieri: 'Greece lacked focus, concentration against Northern Ireland'

Ranieri: 'Greece lacked focus, concentration'
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Claudio Ranieri admits that Greece "lacked focus" in their 2-0 defeat against Northern Ireland, which has seen his side drop eight points adrift in Group F.

Greece manager Claudio Ranieri has admitted that his side found it "very difficult" to get the better of a solid Northern Ireland backline in their Euro 2016 qualifier last night.

Goals from Jamie Ward and Kyle Lafferty fired the Green and White Army to a 2-0 victory in Athens, leaving the 2004 European champions eight points adrift after three matches.

"We lacked focus at the start and conceded early on which made it difficult for us," FourFourTwo quotes Ranieri as saying. "It was very difficult to break down a side so compact in defence. They are a team that know only too well how to close down space. We got hit by counter-attacks and had no balance in midfield.

"It was concentration that we lacked tonight. I watched Northern Ireland's matches against Romania and the Faroe Islands and told my players to beware of set-pieces and counter-attacks – and that's how Northern Ireland scored. We conceded in Finland from a counter-attack and it happened again tonight."

Group F leaders Northern Ireland return to action next month with a trip to face Romania.

Northern Ireland's midfielder Kyle Lafferty celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 group F qualifying gootball match between Greece and Northern Ireland at the Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, near Athens, on October 14, 20
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