MX23RW : Wednesday, October 17 12:45:01

Michael O'Neill "could not be any prouder" of Northern Ireland players

Michael O'Neill admits that the manner of Northern Ireland's 1-0 aggregate defeat to Switzerland leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, settled by a controversial goal.

Michael O'Neill has admitted to being 'proud but disappointed' after Northern Ireland's hopes of reaching the World Cup for the first time since 1986 were crushed by Switzerland.

Despite producing an impressive team display at St. Jakob-Park in Sunday evening's second leg, the visitors could not find the goal required to take the tie to extra time as it finished goalless in Basel.

A controversial Ricardo Rodriguez penalty in the first leg ultimately proved the difference between the two sides, leaving a bitter taste in O'Neill's mouth as Norn Iron's wait for a fourth World Cup finals appearance goes on.

"We've gone out to a poor decision in the first leg," he told Sky Sports News. "Our performance and reaction tonight was fabulous. We were the better team. We had to ride our luck at times but we were pushing until the 94th minute. The players are devastated but I couldn't be any prouder.

"The first leg is difficult as it's tactical and cagey but tonight you're fighting for your dream and your life and the emotional side overrides tactics. Tonight we played with raw courage. We'll have some regrets. If it wasn't for the penalty we'd still be playing extra time now. They players will be remembered for the performance tonight.

"It's a very sore way to lose. We deserve to still be playing in extra time. We have to move on. We brought on young Jordan Jones, who is at Kilmarnock, and they're bringing on a £20m player. To take a team like Switzerland to the final minute over two legs is an amazing achievement. We don't always have top level players but we have top level characters."

O'Neill has yet to decide whether he will stay on as Northern Ireland manager, with a number of English clubs reportedly waiting to pounce should he step aside.

Share this article now:
Gareth McAuley of West Bromwich Albion during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion at Britannia Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England.
Read Next:
McAuley hints at international retirement
>

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City86202131820
2Chelsea86201851320
3Liverpool86201531220
4Arsenal86021910918
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs8602157818
6Bournemouth85121612416
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves843196315
8Manchester UnitedMan Utd84131314-113
9Watford84131112-113
10Leicester CityLeicester84041412212
11Everton83321312112
12Burnley82241012-28
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton8224913-48
14Crystal Palace821559-47
15West Ham UnitedWest Ham8215813-57
16Southampton8125614-85
17Fulham8125921-125
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield8035417-133
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle8026613-72
20Cardiff CityCardiff8026417-132

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!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account