Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis has called Thursday’s goalless draw with the Republic of Ireland ‘a missed opportunity’ as his side look to find some much-needed momentum before next year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Northern Ireland had much the better chances on the night but their struggles in front of goal continued as Republic goalkeeper Darren Randolph was named man of the match following key saves from Gavin Whyte and Jordan Jones.
The result left Northern Ireland with only two wins from their last 12 outings despite some strong performances, with relegation in the Nations League already confirmed ahead of Sunday’s final match against Austria.
“I kind of feel it was a missed opportunity,” Davis said. “I thought again the performance was really good and if you look at the balance of play and chances created then we should have won the game quite comfortably.
“It’s disappointing from that aspect, but obviously there are a lot of positives to take from how we played.
“It’s never easy coming away from home but I thought we controlled the game really well. Our shape was good and we made good use of the ball and only one team looked like winning it so it was a pleasing performance but it would have been nice to get the victory.
“It shows we are moving in the right direction. We don’t want to get into the mindset though of going away from home and putting in a really good performance but not getting the result to go with it. We need to become more ruthless and hopefully that will come.”
While Northern Ireland were playing in Dublin, a goalless draw between Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Vienna sealed their fate in the Nations League.
Sunday’s match at Windsor Park may be a dead rubber now, but Davis wants to use it to build confidence before the Euro 2020 qualifying draw is made on December 2.
“It would be nice to finish 2018 on a high against Austria in front of our fans and get a victory,” the Southampton midfielder said.
“I know it won’t mean anything in terms of where we will finish in our Nations League group but I think that’s important for us leading into the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
“I feel there is still a lot more for this team to give and with the Euro qualifiers coming around the corner I want to play a major part in that campaign. There is a lovely carrot at the end of it and I feel there is a good chance that we can get there.”