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Page last updated at 22:16 GMT, Wednesday, 11 August 2010 23:16 UK

Nigel Worthington upbeat despite N Ireland defeat


Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington believes his team will benefit from the 2-0 defeat by Montenegro

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington believes his team will improve for their opening Euro 2012 qualifier after losing 2-0 to Montenegro.

NI travel to take on Slovenia in their first Group C game on 3 September.

"They were brighter and sharper and hopefully our players will have another four to five games under their belts in the next three weeks," he said.

"We wanted a better performance but if it takes this to get us up to speed for Slovenia then it will be for the good."

"I'm looking forward to the Slovenia game - there's Aaron Hughes, George McCartney and Gareth McAuley to come back in," added Worthington.

"The second goal summed us up. The ball went out of play and we switched off, we got caught out and it was 2-0.

"That's the type of thing that happens in pre-season games."


Worthington brought Manchester United teenager Oliver Norwood on for his senior debut in the second half while his Old Trafford team-mate Corey Evans and Jonny Gorman were also introduced after the break.

Their performances pleased the manager, who is aware that his side must improve significantly for the qualifying campaign.

"Over the years all Northern Ireland sides have played at a good tempo and forcing the opposition to make mistakes but Montenegro were the brighter side," he said.

"It is also about the quality of passing and we have to take more care of the ball.

"One of the brighter things was the youngsters, who came on and did ever so well.

"In the second half we picked up the tempo and they got involved, so it was a great experience for them."

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see also
Montenegro 2-0 Northern Ireland
11 Aug 10 |  Irish
Gorman retains place in NI squad
29 Jul 10 |  Irish
Johnson calls time on NI career
29 Jul 10 |  Irish
McCartney injury concern for NI
22 Jul 10 |  Irish
Chile 1-0 N Ireland
30 May 10 |  Irish
N Ireland 0-2 Turkey
26 May 10 |  Irish

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