Michael O’Neill answered questions for tomorrow’s game versus Swansea
When you look back you never find the perfect performance, you’re always striving for better. I felt if we had taken control of the game a little better we would have created similar opportunities to the only goal which we scored.
Swansea City are a good team with some decent young players. We will have to be disciplined in our play but also look to make our own pressure count.
We have situations where players haven’t played and it would be in their best interests to move on and they know that. We have looked at opportunities to bring players in, but equally, if the window shuts without us bringing anyone in, we would be happy with what we’ve got.
Tyrese Campbell won’t be fit for tomorrow. We are optimistic he may be fit for Derby County. Ryan Shawcross is also unavailable for tomorrow. Nick Powell is fine.
We have been fairly good with injuries and touch wood that continues. We have 18 games to go and each one of them will be physically demanding but I think we have done well with managing that to date.
We work hard defensively as a team out of possession. It’s not the easiest work to do but important. The players have been responsive to it. As a unit the team have become stronger.
Michael O’Neill press conference for Millwall game
Here is a brief bullet point to what was said
We have had a good weeks training, the squad is in good spirits
Ryan Shawcross is the only player not in the squad, hopefully he will be fit for the West Bromwich Albion game
We are actively trying to add to the squad, but only those that will have an impact on the Starting XI.
We would also like a bit more youth in the side. Julien Ngoy and Thibaud Verlinden have been good since they’ve come back in
Millwall are a good side, Gary Rowett has had a positive impact since he’s gone in. He’s got them playing a style that suits them, they are also good at set pieces.
We are show good signs of progression, though this needs to be reflected with 3 points.
I wouldn’t ideally like to lose any of the players, but if we do then we will deal with this when it arises. The players that have left have freed up some wage, we must make sure that when we add it with the right players.
Michael O’Neill press conference for the Boxing Day game Versus Sheffield Wednesday
Reflection on Middlesbrough game
To have the level of control we had away from home on Friday, particularly in the first half, is a positive, however on the other side of things we need to be more ruthless. We had a similar situation away to Cardiff too.
Do the players know what’s needed
The message has been made clear to the players and they know we need to be better – they are under no illusions. As well as winning games we need to make sure we are more difficult to beat.
Any transfer window is difficult, particularly in January. It’s perhaps a bit more difficult when you have a large squad. We have to try and come out of it with a more balanced squad. I still believe that the current squad trimmed down has enough but just need a bit of help
Ryan Woods and Peter Etebo were ill on Friday but are now back in training. James McClean and Stephen Ward came off injured on Friday so they are doubts for Boxing Day. Ryan Shawcross trained with the squad today.
I understand the fans’ frustrations and it has clearly built up over time. What I will say is the fans can make a huge difference to the confidence levels of the players and I ask them to give us their maximum on Boxing Day. We all need to be as positive as possible.
Michael O’Neill Press conference for the game versus Reading
We were pleased with a lot of aspects of the game on Tuesday. We scored three good goals as a result of the preparation we did beforehand. The clean sheet was another positive for everyone. Work still needs to be done
Reading play differently to Luton so they will pose different problems. The focus has to be on ourselves however.
We set the bar high on Tuesday night in terms of intensity and that’s the level we need to maintain.
Prospect of facing Charlie Adam
I know Charlie Adam well and played with his dad at Dundee United. I’m sure he will receive a good reception. He has a great range of passing.
O’Neill on his best team
I’m getting closer to knowing what my best team is there’s no doubt about that. What type of players I need now and in the future may change so opportunities for others will be there especially with so many games coming quickly
Jordan Cousins Performance
I was delighted with Jordan Cousins on Tuesday. He’s not had much of a chance since I’ve come in but he has trained tremendously and warranted his chance. He is strong, a good runner and uses the ball well. He typifies what we want from players not currently in the side.
We’re in a situation where players will have to leave so we can bring others in. January is always a difficult window. Typically you’re looking at younger players at bigger clubs looking for an opportunity.
I don’t intend on spending as much as other before me have. We still have players out on loan that can potentially come back. We have a large squad that needs to be reduced so we can add younger players and ones with pace.
We are fine injury wise other than Ryan Shawcross who picked up a groin injury on Tuesday though it’s not a bad injury & could be back playing before new year.
Michael O’Neill press conference for the Hull game
O’Neill starts proceedings talking about the tragic news coming from the Afobe household
Everyone’s thoughts are with Benik and his family. He had just returned to the Club but we’ve conveyed messages to him that we’re all there for him.”
First full week with squad
This is the first chance we’ve had to work over a longer period. We had a game on Tuesday at the training ground for the fitness of the players who haven’t been involved.”
It’s a difficult situation but I knew that when I walked in. We have players who have played at a higher level but I’ve told them it’s about the here and now and trying to arrest the results.”
We have to work hard to be better without the ball and a team that has better structure to it. We can’t go on the strategy that we’re going to outscore the opposition.”
I’ve tried to select a consistent team and system. Constant change doesn’t help the squad as we’ve seen earlier in the season. Once we get to January we can see where the squad is at.
It’s not difficult to motivate the players because they’re employed by the Club. The responsibility doesn’t just lie with the Club but the players as well.”
Ryan Shawcross being out is a blow, Joe Allen leads by example when he’s on the pitch. We have a lot of internationals and we have players who show leadership in their own ways.”
We do a lot of analysis with the players both on the pitch and off it. When we look back at games we’re lacking quality in the final third, we haven’t been overrun or dominated in any of the games.”
We have to be better at home, if you have good away form then it can elevate you, but if we get it right at home, the fans will play a huge part between now and the end of the season. But we have to give them something first.”
Nathan Collins is struggling with a back injury, Ryan is still short, otherwise we’re looking pretty good.”