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O’Shea lauds players who ‘found a way’ to beat Hungary

John O’Shea hailed his side’s character and determination as they “found a way to win” against Hungary at the Aviva Stadium.

An Adam Idah first-half header and an injury-time individual Troy Parrott effort saw Ireland end Hungary’s impressive 14-game unbeaten run to secure the 2-1 victory at the Lansdowne Road venue.

Already in O’Shea’s brief time in charge as interim manager, he has seen his side play better yet draw against Belgium, and he has seen them play better and lose to Switzerland.

But this international friendly against the Euros-bound Hungarians was not about the performance, but all about the result.

O’Shea has been emphasising the importance of getting Ireland back winning games following Stephen Kenny’s three-year tenure of poor results and missed opportunities.

And again before the game, he spoke about winning matches, which was imperative to build momentum, but also to give him a better shout of being appointed to the permanent position following this summer’s international window.

Ireland huffed and puffed quite a bit throughout the game against the slick and stylish Hungarian side, and yet they were first on the scoresheet, when Idah crashed home that header in the 36th minute, and they proved the hungrier in the closing stages as Parrott popped up to hit the injury-time winner.

“I said to the players beforehand that the mindset was to beat Hungary whatever way we could,” said O’Shea, speaking at the post-match press conference.

“They did that. They showed great desire. We found a way. To see the team dig deep and fight, to find a way to win.”

Troy Parrott celebrates his winning goal as Lansdowne Road

O’Shea was first to admit that the performance was not up to the standard that he was expecting, which he put down to end of season fatigue and the fact that many of his players had finished their season several weeks before the June double-header.

And while he knows that the team are more than capable of playing at a higher level, he was delighted to see his side cause problems for a team with Hungary’s recent record.

“We played better against Belgium and Switzerland, were better with the ball but we showed an application and hunger to hang in and stay in the game and win,” said O’Shea.

“If we had been more streetwise we’d have created more chances, the details of our passing was not to the level against Belgium and Switzerland so that’s something to work on.

“The big thing for me was that we caused them problems at different stages, and we would have caused them a lot more problems with a bit more care.

“You have a nervousness about the time of year, in terms of the fitness of players, as players have been off for three or four weeks.

“It is a tricky period for players.”

Naturally, the subject of the permanent position was raised, and whether the win was evidence that he is capable of leading this teams into the future, however, the manager was diplomatic with his thoughts midway through this window with a difficult away game in Portugal to negotiate next week.

“It is evidence we are winning games again, which is hugely important,” said O’Shea.

“We want to qualify for tournaments, we want to win games, especially at home, that’s the foundation for qualifying for tournaments.

“And against a team that have been on an unbeaten run, we found a way to win.”

O’Shea is one of Ireland’s most decorated players at club level having spent many seasons at Old Trafford in a very successful Manchester United side, while he also earned over 100 caps for his country and played in some memorable matches in the green jersey.

But the manager admitted that it was a very proud personal moment to lead his country to victory.

“The special thing for me is that the group won,” said O’Shea. “That was what mattered.

“The feeling you get when you win a match for your country as a manager is incredible.

“Thinking back to being a young lad growing up in Waterford, thinking of the days I had as an Ireland player, this is a proud moment.”

And as for that winning goal. Was there ever a doubt in the manager’s mind when he saw Parrott and Szmodics bearing down on goal?

“I was very calm, because, obviously, of the vein of form that he is in,” said O’Shea. “That was the plan, to get Troy into those positions.

“You saw the attitude and application that he had, the desire to get back into the team, back in the squad.

“We were having a quick look there, and Sammie might have been offside, he was maybe too eager to get the ball.

“So thankfully it went in.”


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