Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill not too downhearted

Thomas Rogne of Norway in action against Northern Ireland's Martin Paterson
Thomas Rogne of Norway in action against Northern Ireland's Martin Paterson

New Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill refused to be too harsh on his team after their 3-0 defeat by Norway at Windsor Park.

O'Neill felt his first match in charge provided some encouraging aspects.

"We are very disappointed with the result, there is no getting away from that. But it was not a fair reflection on the game," said O'Neill.

"When we look at it tomorrow we will find a lot of positives there, and there were some good performances."

O'Neill added: "We had to make changes in the back four and that disrupted us.

"It was disappointing to lose a goal to a set piece just before half-time.

"But we saw some players like Shane Ferguson and Dean Shiels who had very good games and Sammy Clingan did well too.

"It is disappointing to lose two late goals when we were pushing to get something out of the game. I thought the scoreline was slightly harsh on us."

O'Neill will have to wait until 2 June for his next game as national boss, a trip to Amsterdam to face Holland.

"It is a long time to carry a defeat around with you, but unfortunately that's what I am going to have to do," he said.

"It will be a big challenge but we have to prepare for difficult opposition because we have Russia and Portugal in our World Cup qualifying group."

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