MX23RW : Saturday, October 20 07:12:22

Neil Lennon: 'Northern Ireland must beat Ukraine to have hope of Euro 2016 progress'

Neil Lennon believes that Northern Ireland must bounce back from their Euro 2016 defeat against Poland and prepare for a 'must-win' game against Ukraine.

Former Northern Ireland midfielder Neil Lennon has stressed that Michael O'Neill's side must put their Euro 2016 defeat to Poland behind them and prepare for a 'must-win' game against Ukraine on Thursday.

The home nation, playing in their first tournament for 30 years, were beaten 1-0 in their Group C game in Nice thanks to Arkadiusz Milik's strike.

Lennon told BBC Sport after the game: "The most disappointing thing about watching Northern Ireland start Euro 2016 with a defeat to Poland was our lack of threat in the final third.

"Our set pieces were poor and we should have kept possession far better in open play. The midfield three who were meant to be supporting Kyle Lafferty did not get forward enough and, when he was up front on his own, he got no decent service at all.

"If we want to qualify out of this group, then we are going to have to win in Lyon on Thursday. One win could get us to the last 16 and, with Germany to play in our final group game, the best chance of us getting that will be against Ukraine."

Ukraine, like Northern Ireland, began their Euro 2016 campaign with a defeat as Germany rode out 2-0 winners in Lille.

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Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty in action against Azerbaijan on November 14, 2012
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