Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy says a “cup final” against Denmark awaits his players after defeat to Switzerland damaged their hopes of qualifying for Euro 2020.
Haris Seferovic opened the scoring before a Shane Duffy own goal secured the Swiss a 2-0 win over their 10-man opponents on Tuesday, with the visitors having Seamus Coleman sent off.
McCarthy’s team remain top in Group D with Denmark level with them on points. Switzerland are a point further back but both they and the Danes have a game in hand before the final round of fixtures on November 18.
Denmark finish up with a trip to Dublin, where they ended Ireland’s 2018 World Cup hopes in the play-offs.
“We’ve got to play Denmark now at home,” said McCarthy. “I would’ve taken that at the start and I’ll take it now. We’ve still got a chance to qualify automatically.”
He added: “We’ve got ourselves a cup final against Denmark next month and if you have handed me that before the group began, I’d have taken it.”
A philosophical McCarthy had no complaints over the outcome as his team were beaten for the first time in the group, capping a disappointing few days following a 0-0 draw against Georgia.
“We were beaten by the better team, much the better team actually,” he added,
“Certainly in the first half we didn’t play particularly well. Whatever system we play it does not excuse our wayward passing and the stuff that we did.
0 – Republic of Ireland have failed to score in back-to-back competitive matches under Mick McCarthy for the very first time, having never done so during his first reign as manager between 1996 and 2002. Desired. pic.twitter.com/ZRHZrDtyF4
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 15, 2019
“I changed it midway through the second half and that settled things down a bit. Second half we played much better. I think it was a performance that we can be proud of, certainly when the players went down to ten men. Second half, not the first half.”
Midfielder Glenn Whelan admitted they gave their hosts “too much respect” in the first half in Geneva.
“We stood off them a little bit but, in the second half, we had a go and tried to get back in the game,” he added.
“I think, for us, we need to do that all of the time. We show teams too much respect and then get sloppy on the ball. If we are on the front foot we will get the fans behind us and give anyone a go.”
Switzerland boss Vladimir Petkovic praised his team’s response after defeat to Denmark in their previous outing but insisted they still have much to do despite having the easiest run-in.
“It was a good performance. We had to show a reaction after losing to Denmark and that’s what we did,” he said.
“The result doesn’t mean a lot in the group – we still need to get results in our next two games. If we get the points we need against Georgia and Gibraltar, we can turn our attentions to Euro 2020.”