Northern Ireland 1-2 USA: 'I hate losing games of football', says Ian Baraclough as winless run continues

Niall McGinn's superb goal provided a late scare for the USA
Niall McGinn's superb goal provided a late scare for the USA

Ian Baraclough has said he was pleased with Northern Ireland's performance in Sunday's 2-1 defeat by the USA but he "hates losing games of football".

NI are yet to win a match in 90 minutes in Baraclough's 10 games in charge.

Giovanni Reyna and Christian Pulisic secured the visitors' friendly win despite Niall McGinn's superb goal.

"There were some really pleasing performances and some good spells which we will be happy with," said Baraclough.

"At the end of the day we have lost a game of football, and we have to make sure we don't give cheap goals away and make sure we are not climbing that mountain again to get back into a game, but the response from a lot of the players was good."

The friendly at Windsor Park was sandwiched between Northern Ireland's opening World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Bulgaria.

Italy triumphed 2-0 in Parma on Thursday and the Bulgarians travel to Belfast for the second Group C game on Wednesday.

With that in mind, Baraclough made 10 changes from the Italy defeat and the manager said it will be "a conundrum" to see who will start against Bulgaria.

"That's what I asked for before the game, put your hand up and tell me in your performance that you are good enough and want to be involved for what is going to be a crunch game," added the 50-year-old.

"Yes, we have lost the game and I'm sure that will turn, but we created more than enough to get more than just the one goal.

"Our pressing and intensity in the first-half, before making the changes, was excellent was well. The penalty was harsh from what I've seen and from what I have been told by people watching on the other channel."

Linfield striker Shayne Lavery started for the first time for Northern Ireland's senior team
Linfield striker Shayne Lavery earned his first start for Northern Ireland's senior team against the USA

Baraclough praised the attitudes of Shayne Lavery and McGinn, who were both drafted into the squad after being left out of the original panel.

Aberdeen winger McGinn pulled a goal back on 88 minutes with a superb, powerful strike beyond USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen from an acute angle.

"Both their attitudes have been exemplary. For Niall to finish like he did, I thought it was a super strike and he will be smiling tonight," he said.

"We'll get back to the hotel tonight then rest, recover and get back to the training ground tomorrow to make sure we start the preparation right for what will hopefully be a decent game on Wednesday."