Mick McCarthy ready for ‘cup final’ against Denmark in pivotal Euro 2020 qualifier

first_imgMICK McCARTHY spent a large portion of a ten- minute interview with journalists refusing to rule out a lot of things.And the Ireland boss is clinging to the belief that a victory over Denmark is one of the plausible scenarios that could pan out.1 Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthyFollowing Thursday’s win over New Zealand, McCarthy was asked a number of questions about how performances in that friendly game might influence his thinking for the match that matters on Monday night.Asked about Troy Parrott, he said he would have a look at the teenager again but that he had not done himself any harm.Pressed on whether that meant he was ‘refusing to rule him out’, the manager replied: “McCarthy refuses to rule him out, whatever you want, yeah.”It became his go-to gag for the remainder of the conversation, when asked whether Seán Maguire was an option on the right and whether Parrott could play for the Under-21s on Tuesday.Yesterday’s announcement that Lee O’Connor, but not Parrott, would return to Stephen Kenny’s squad for their game against Sweden, offered a further indication that a second outing in four days at the Aviva Stadium for the starlet had not been discounted.That Ireland might feel the need to turn to a 17-year-old who has yet to taste league football and has just one senior cap, in a friendly, could be seen as a poor reflection on the strength of the current squad.TOTTENHAM TEAMMATESIt would be the first time that he has shared a pitch with Christian Eriksen for a competitive fixture, although they are club colleagues at Tottenham.But, although he is short on experience, he is clearly a player of exceptional potential.And, whatever personnel McCarthy picks, he will be looking to mask a number of shortcomings in trying to assemble a team which adds up to more than the sum of its parts.McCarthy said: “I think we’ve always had to do that. They’re a great bunch of lads and they won’t be left wanting, that’s for sure.”Ireland will be up against a side that has lost just once in their previous 33 games — and that was when none of their front-line players were available because of a pay dispute.A draw will suffice for the Danes to qualify for Euro 2020 whereas Ireland need to win — but McCarthy does not expect his players to be daunted by the challenge in front of them.He added: “It should be an inspiration, walking out and standing in front of that crowd for the national anthem. And I think it is for these lads.“I’ve just said to them in there — we’re now preparing for a cup final. Which it is and we’ve no second chance from it. I’ve just been at pains to stress that.”PLAY-OFF SAFETY NETThere is, of course, the safety net of a play-off in March but McCarthy is anxious to remove that from the equation and have his players working off the basis that this is do-or-die for them.He said: “They’ll know about it, of course, but they won’t be thinking about it. They’ll want to qualify and do it here.“It would be nice if we’d qualified already but it was unlikely right at the very start.“But needing a draw? Ooh, I don’t know how you’d go about that one. Would you just sit back and think, ‘Well, we’ll soak it up?’ No, not really.“Do you go gung-ho and get done? We know what we’ve got to do — we’ve got to win. There is no other result that’s going to count for us.”BALANCE MUST BE STRUCKMcCarthy is fully aware that a balance has to be struck.Some will point to the fact that four of the last five meetings between the teams were draws.But that has been because Ireland have shown either limited ambition or the capacity to get at Denmark, in the knowledge of what happened to them in that fifth encounter.And McCarthy conceded that his side were living dangerously in Copenhagen in June when Shane Duffy’s late headed leveller earned them a point.He added: “We should be beating New Zealand at home, there’s no question about that. And we did. It will have no bearing or reflection on Monday night.“We couldn’t give them on Monday some of the space we’ve given New Zealand, that’s for sure.“We’ll have to be really rock-solid and tight.“Over there we drew 1-1 but I’ve looked at it a number of times and they opened us up a few times and we made a good save and a couple of good blocks.“I’ve no doubt they can be got at. I’m not ruling it out.“I’m not saying they are unbeatable because they’re not but they are a completely different team to New Zealand and you’ve got to respect that.“I don’t want to be disrespectful to New Zealand, I’m not being that but they’re just not the Denmark team.“Don’t think that that’s the recipe for sitting back and inviting all the pressure because I’m not sure about that either.“But I think it’s got to be a very considered press, to make sure we do it properly and do it together and make sure we all defend well, because they are a good side“I don’t know if them not having to win is a good thing or a bad thing but at some stage we’ll have to go toe-to-toe with them.”PLEASED WITH MAGUIRETo that end, McCarthy was pleased to see both Maguire and Callum Robinson score their first goals for Ireland against the Kiwis, although he again qualified it by pointing out that the back four Monday’s visitors would field would be somewhat more difficult to penetrate than New Zealand’s.Derrick Williams also got off the mark but the Blackburn man was unlikely to feature against Denmark anyway before he was ruled out with a calf injury.McCarthy said: “Seán trained well in that position and he took everything we said in training to him into the game. I was pleased with him.“He’s not had that much game-time but I thought he was really good so I wouldn’t have any fears with him at all.”Maguire might have shot earlier when a first-half opportunity arose but McCarthy added: “He had a similar chance in training the other day and funnily enough he stuck it away, it was on his left foot.“I was pleased he got his goal in the end. He didn’t let his head drop, he kept playing, he did really well.MOST READ IN SPORTTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own club“Callum is another one. I feel that his best slot — and he plays there for his club — is on that left-hand side. He likes to come in on the right foot and he’s done himself no harm“I know they want to score goals. No matter how they play, they want to contribute by scoring. It was a great finish by Seánie.“And Callum as well, that’s one of the things we talked about, getting inside that far post and getting on the end of something — so something sank in!”last_img read more