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Wednesday 08 Nov 2017
O'Neill says squad composed & excited ahead of Switzerland clash

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill says his squad are composed and excited ahead of tomorrow’s FIFA World Cup play-off with Switzerland in Belfast. 

O’Neill was speaking at today’s manager and captain’s press conference at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

“It’s going to be massive, the fans energise the team,” said O’Neill.

“We need a high intensity performance here. We need to be disciplined as well.

“It’s important to try to keep a clean sheet if we can and obviously take something to Basel, and give ourselves the opportunity to take a lead to Basel as well.

“So we have to play with a real intensity but we have to play with a calmness and an assurance as well.

“We have to make sure that we play the game with cool heads at times. When we press and we try to win the game we have to make sure we don’t leave ourselves too open.

“The players know that themselves. They have enough experience in this and enough experience in big international football matches now to deal with this. But it is a slightly different scenario than what we’ve faced in the past.”

O’Neill confirmed that both Paddy McNair and Aaron Hughes are training and in contention for tomorrow’s match.

And he’s calling on fans to be as loud as possible come kick-off; 

“The fans will play a huge part and we know we’ll get fantastic backing.” 

Northern Ireland v Switzerland kicks off at 7.45pm on Thursday and fans are asked to come to the stadium early to help build an amazing atmosphere before the match.