Michael O'Neill frustrated as Northern Ireland draw in Malta

Michael O'Neill admitted he was disappointed not to have clinched his first win as boss when Northern Ireland were held to a 0-0 draw by Malta.

O'Neill has had five draws and three defeats since succeeding Nigel Worthington just over a year ago.

"We came here with the intention of winning the game," said O'Neill.

"While we controlled lots of the game, we did not create that many chances. The conditions and pitch were difficult and they were well organised."

Northern Ireland now have home World Cup qualifiers against Russia and Israel in March and manager O'Neill believes the frustrating night in Valletta will have no bearing on those testing fixtures.

"We look forward to the qualifying games, I think they have a different edge to them," he added.

"There were not as many positives as I would have liked but some young players got game time tonight.

"Look at William Grigg, Daniel Lafferty got just his third cap and Billy McKay made his debut. Alan Mannus got a full game and kept a clean sheet.

"But, overall we know where we need to improve.

"For the players, games like tonight are difficult. There were not many people at the game and it had a reserve team feel about it.

"It has been a useful three days but we are disappointed not to win the game."