John O'Shea says Ireland need to 'be horrible' to get result away from home

admin admin | 06-11 08:15

John O’Shea has told his Ireland team that they need to be "horrible" if they want to compete on the international stage.

Ireland face Portugal, winners of Euro 2016 – the last major tournament for which the Republic qualified – in a friendly on Tuesday evening once again in a rebuilding phase after Stephen Kenny’s departure in November last year.

O’Shea has been handed temporary charge once again having taken the team for March’s friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland, and will hope to build upon last week’s 2-1 victory over Hungary, although he knows his team face a major challenge in Aveiro.

He said: "It’s a huge test for the boys, for all of us, but one we have to relish.

"It’s a simple scenario of if you go out and perform and play to your levels, focus on where we can stop, frustrate and also hurt Portugal…

"If we can do that and take the ideas that we have done against Belgium, Switzerland and Hungary and progress them away from home, get those ideas across and build the mentality in the group that we can frustrate, be compact, be horrible, but also know that quality play, intensity…

"You bring all those things together if you can, and then go score goals, most importantly – the chances to score goals are crucial for us and if we can do that away from home…

"You know what, it is needed sometimes away from home to get a result."

Much of the build-up to the game has surrounded the relationship between O’Shea and his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still going strong for Portugal at the age of 39.

The two men spent six hugely successful years together at Old Trafford, and yet O'Shea is acutely aware that Ronaldo is far from the only threat in the Portuguese camp.

Asked about current Manchester United skipper Bruno Fernandes’ influence on Erik ten Hag’s team, he said: "He’s their main focal point in terms of goals created and goals scored, the passes he wants to play and how he hurts teams. He has always taken that responsibility on board.

"It was amazing to finish the season with the [FA] Cup like they did, but I’m sure the season was full of frustrations for him too. He will be glad of the little reset and the chance to join up with Portugal and focus on doing well at a Euros.

"You see the quality he possesses in terms of goals scored and created, and he’s one of a number of Portuguese players that we have to be very wary of (on Tuesday)."

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