06/06/2005

Sanchez cites lack of confidence as Germans beat NI

Northern Ireland manager Lawrie Sanchez has hit out at his side’s lack of confidence when going behind to the opposition following Saturday’s 4-1 home defeat at the hands of Germany.

Northern Ireland went 1-0 up thanks to a David Healy goal after Robert Huth was sent off for a hand ball on 15 minutes.

However, this lead was shortlived as Germany equalised less than two minutes later thanks to Gerald Asamoah.

Both sides had numerous chances to go in front before half-time however glaring misses from Northern Ireland duo Steve Davis and Steve Jones, and German maestro Michael Ballack, ensured both sides went into the break on equal spoils.

Just like Northern Ireland’s last game against England, however, a second half goal from the opposition saw the Irish confidence all but disappear as Michael Ballack headed the Germans into the lead on 62 minutes.

Ballack then converted a penalty after Gillespie's push on Schweinsteger on 66 minutes before Lukas Podolski completed the rout by chipping the on-rushing substitute keeper Michael Ingham on 82 minutes to make it 4-1.

Speaking after the match, which was organised to celebrate the IFA’s 125th anniversary, Lawrie Sanchez said he wanted to see more self-belief in his players following this latest defeat.

“We are the quietest team I have ever known. When we concede goals we think it is the end of the world. You can see the confidence drain from the players,” Sanchez said.

"The confidence is eggshell thin. Once that eggshell starts to crack, it completely disintegrates. The goals are the thing that makes that eggshell crack and it is something we need to eradicate big time."

Northern Ireland’s next game is on August 16th when they take on Malta in a friendly in Valetta. Following that is a World Cup qualifier double header in September against Azerbajian and England, both at Windsor Park.

(MB/SP)

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