No regrets for Worthington

30 March 2011 04:30

Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington has no regrets about his team selections for this week's Euro 2012 qualifying double header.

Tuesday night's 0-0 draw against Slovenia at Windsor Park followed a 2-1 defeat in Serbia on Friday, with a return of one point from six falling some way below Worthington's aspirations. Results elsewhere mean the battle for second place behind Group C leaders Italy is still open, though, and Worthington insists he made the right calls for both games.

"I have no regrets at all about the teams," he said. "It's my decision and I will bring players on and off when I think the time is right."

There were several big decisions - moving Gareth McAuley to centre-back in Belgrade at the expense of Stephen Craigan, handing successive starts to the young Corry Evans and sticking with a sole striker against Slovenia.

McAuley, in particular, proved an astute switch and was arguably his team's best player in both games.

Worthington added: "We have had to be solid for these two games and the right personnel was out there these two matches, both starting and coming on at various times.

"I'm happy with those decisions."

There was some dissatisfaction among fans that Celtic's Paddy McCourt was reduced to a bit-part role from the bench in each match, but Worthington was unwavering.

He added: "Pat knows where he is at and he is getting better. We know his ability but we're playing international football where you don't get to dribble too far up the pitch before people are on you. If you lose the ball they are at you and Pat is working hard on that side of things.

"I said it was going to be a boxing match and it was exactly that. It went the distance. I thought our lads were immense and we kept our shape well."

Source: PA