Brian Kerr compares Ireland approach to international minnows
"Don't be harsh. We were better than that!"
The Republic of Ireland's game against Denmark on Monday night was dreadful, devoid of any positive developments for the Irish team.
Martin O'Neill's side didn't have a shot on target in the Uefa Nations League tie in Aarhus. They camped on the edge of the box and allowed Denmark to dominate possession.
There was nothing at stake in the match - the result didn't matter.
Ireland would be relegated from their Nations League group and Denmark would be promoted regardless of the scoreline. Yet, O'Neill's team still offered absolutely nothing on the ball.
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It's easy to blame the players for this, but they appeared lost on the pitch - as though they were only told the starting lineup an hour before kick-off and there were few tactical instructions offered.
- Callum O'Dowda, a winger playing as a number 10, had nine touches in the first half.
- Jeff Hendrick, an attacking midfielder playing at the base of Ireland's midfield, won the man of the match award.
- Cyrus Christie, a full-back, played in midfield and seemed incapable of passing the ball forward.
It was a confusing mess and the type of display we have witnessed all too often from O'Neill's team over the last 18-months.
Martin O’Neill has no excuses left. The ROI were outplayed by a team containing players from Burton Albion and Oxford United.https://t.co/iru31pxyoz
— Robert Redmond (@RobRedmond10) November 16, 2018
On Virgin Media Sport, Brian Kerr, Mick McCarthy and Kevin Kilbane had little positive to say about the game. Which was perfectly understandable.
It was turgid. The worst Ireland game since last Thursday - when they played out a terrible goalless draw with Northern Ireland.
During his analysis of the match, Kerr compared Ireland's approach to a minnow playing against an international powerhouse.
"They're not that much better than us that we should be playing that deep for the whole game," the former Ireland manager said.
"We were like a team hanging on for a nil-nil in a World Cup match, desperation. 'We get out with a nil-nil and we've qualified or we've got a great point'.
"But this is a game where it's a dead rubber, we're out of it..."
"We haven't scored in four games, been involved in three 0-0 draws and Wales beat us 1-0. Compared to what's going on in other sports, your sales pitch would want to be very good."
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"We look like a minnow there," presenter Tommy Martin said.
Kilbane agreed and compared Ireland to Gibraltar or the Faroe Islands.
Kerr immediately corrected Kilbane.
"Don't be harsh. We were better than that," Kerr said, referring to his time as coach of the Faroes between 2009 and 2011.
"A San Marino, an Andorra, I'd say."
The former Ireland manager was joking, but there was a grain of truth in his comment.
Ireland morphed into a shapeless blob and packed as many bodies behind the ball as possible.
It was the type of display one would see from a minnow, not a team containing six Premier League players.
You can watch Kerr's analysis here: