Michael O'Neill: We deserved to beat Finland, says NI manager

Michael O'Neill says Northern Ireland are moving closer to Euro 2016

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill said his side deserved their Euro 2016 qualifier victory over Finland after creating the better chances.

Kyle Lafferty scored twice in a 2-1 win over the Finns at Windsor Park to boost his side's hopes of qualification.

"Many aspects of our play were really pleasing. We showed real conviction to win the game and that shone through in the performance," said O'Neill.

"Qualifying is a realistic possibility but our next challenge is Romania."

The NI boss added that he knew how the visitors, managed by his good friend Mixu Paatelainen, would play, and acknowledged that his team had to concede a lot of the possession.

"We had to work hard when we didn't have the ball but we carved out the more clear-cut chances," he said.

"Kyle scored two fantastic goals from two quality crosses into the area and we could have had another if Chris Baird's header had not been ruled out for offside.

Northern Ireland's remaining Euro 2016 Group F qualifiers
Romania (home)Saturday, 13 June 2015
Faroe Islands (away)Friday, 4 September 2015
Hungary (home)Monday, 7 September 2015
Greece (home)Thursday, 8 October 2015
Finland (away)Sunday, 11 October 2015

"I'll have to check the rules but it seems strange to give offside in a situation like that. Thankfully we dealt with it and that gives an indication of the strength of this team.

"Jamie (Ward) forced a good save from their keeper and Niall [McGinn] was off-target when he perhaps should have done better, then we were disappointed to lose a goal at the end."

"Kyle has put a difficult year behind him and he's a big part of the squad. He's playing with bags of confidence and with a smile on his face."

Northern Ireland next face Group F leaders Romania in Belfast in June, with O'Neill calling for "a similar performance and a similar result" to that which proved enough to see off Finland.

"A win in that game would take us top of the group and we have our preparations laid out in front of us," explained O'Neill.

"Romania are an excellent team and we will have to be at our very best if we are to beat them, but we are well capable of doing it."

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