‘Wounded’ Ian Baraclough won’t give in as Northern Ireland cling on to hopes of World Cup qualification
- Switzerland beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in World Cup qualifying on Saturday
- Jamal Lewis was shown a second yellow card for taking too long over a throw-in
- The Ireland defender had earlier been booked for pulling back Breel Embolo
- Steven Zuber and Christian Fassnacht scored in stoppage time of each half
Manager Ian Baraclough must deliver the mother of all pep talks when Northern Ireland make the trip to Bulgaria for what looks like a lost cause in their bid to qualify for Qatar.
This defeat left the team six points adrift of second-placed Switzerland in Group C. With only three games left, there seems little chance of earning a play-off place.
‘We’ve got to lick our wounds now and get ready for Bulgaria,’ said Baraclough.
Ian Baraclough must deliver the mother of all pep talks when Northern Ireland face Bulgaria
‘We have to put ourselves in a position where if the Swiss slip up, we can capitalise.’
Jamal Lewis’s hugely controversial 37th-minute sending-off overshadowed the game. Referee Slavko Vincic’s decision to show a second yellow card for time-wasting in the first half proved pivotal.
Northern Ireland had already effectively one arm tied behind their backs at the Stade de Geneve after seven players — including Jonny Evans, Corry Evans, Ali McCann and Shayne Lavery — were ruled out.
Jamal Lewis was shown a second yellow card for taking too long over a throw-in in 36th minute
‘You can’t knock the spirit or the camaraderie, the togetherness of the team,’ added Baraclough.
‘We knew we would leave gaps the longer the game went on, but the players have given absolutely everything. They’ve put bodies on the line and put us in a position going into the last few minutes.’
‘You need those leaders.
‘I’d much rather lose by two or three goals than to not have a go and try to do something about the one goal.’