O`Neill keen to break his duck

13 November 2012 06:47

Michael O'Neill is desperate to end his wait for a first victory as Northern Ireland manager against Azerbaijan on Wednesday night.

O'Neill has presided over three draws and three defeats since taking over from Nigel Worthington but has a real chance to end his first year in charge on a high note in the World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park.

"We've played three qualifying games now, with a loss and two draws. It's time for us to put three points on the board," he said. "That players know that and I know that. I'm desperate to get my first win as manager and to get the first win with this group of players."

He went on: "The players can move on very quickly, they go back to their clubs and refocus so it's probably the manager that carries a bad result around longer; I don't have another game to get it out of my system.

"It's hugely important that we start winning games now. We have a four-month break (between qualifiers) after this game and you want to go into that break on the back of a positive result and a positive performance. If we don't it will be a long three months for me."

Most of Northern Ireland's best results in recent years have involved plucky displays against higher-ranked sides, while the majority of disappointments have been when failing to see off less fancied opposition.

There is no doubt that the home side are expected to win tomorrow but O'Neill does not see that as a burden.

"Dealing with expectation is talked about a lot but if you're a team that has expectations on your then you're doing something right," he said. "If you can deal with that expectation then you're doing something right too. That's our aim, simple as that

"We want to create a group that people do expect things of because then we know we're going in the right direction.

"If people don't expect anything then I'm not doing my job properly."

Source: PA

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