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"We deserved to win it" | John Giles on Ireland's Euro playoff heartache


Republic of Ireland legend John Giles thinks there were plenty of encouraging signs in the Republic of Ireland's playoff defeat to Slovakia but he feels the lack of a goalscorer cost the team. 

Stephen Kenny's side lost 4-2 on penalties after spurning three good chances across 120-minutes and Slovakia will go on to face Northern Ireland for a place at the finals next summer.

Giles has urged supporters to be patient with their new manager, who must now get ready for Nations League matches against Wales and Finland in the coming week.

"It was an improvement on the previous two matches," the former Leeds midfielder said of Ireland's display in Bratislava on tonight's Off The Ball.

"It's never easy for a manager to come in and get it right straight away. It'll take a few matches for Stephen Kenny to get what he believes to be the right team.

"You have to go through seven or eight matches to learn about your players...obviously you want them to play as well as possible in the style that you want but it takes time.

"Last night's performance was better than the last two and I thought we should have won the match.

"We had at least three good chances, Hourihane had the best chance of the match and Browne had a couple, certainly we created more than them and I thought we were the better team over the 90-minutes.

"The back five is very, very good. Coleman wasn't playing but Doherty did well last night, so we're solid in defence."

Ireland have scored just 10 times in their last 17 games and Giles feels the lack of a top-class finisher proved costly against Slovakia.

"What we were lacking last night was a finisher. Unfortunately we were without Connolly and Idah, Connolly would have started up front.

"We have a problem, no doubt, in scoring goals. Under Mick McCarthy we conceded only five goals in eight matches so the back five have been very good so that's a good start.

"They defended well, Randolph made one good save when he had to but they didn't give much away at all.

"We missed some good chances, so we deserved to win it, but we need to get someone to put the ball in the back of the net.

"I think Connolly is our best hope there but he couldn't play last night and Idah could do it as well. So the two forwards that I would probably have picked last night didn't play."

With Idah and Connolly ruled out of the game (and this weekend's match against Wales), Giles felt that David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson didn't carry enough of a goal threat.

"McGoldrick and Robinson worked extremely hard but they don't have a record of being great goal-scorers so I think Connolly is our best bet.

"At club level McGoldrick doesn't score many goals, I think he's a terrific lad and he works hard. He's a grafter but sometimes he drops too deep and scoring goals is the most difficult art in football.

"If we can get Connolly and Idah scoring goals then we're on our way."

 



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John Giles Republic Of Ireland Stephen Kenny

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