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Friday 23 Sep 2022
Baraclough sets sights on first Nations League win

Northern Ireland Ian Baraclough says he and his squad must put June’s results behind them and focus on landing a first win in the UEFA Nations League.

Baraclough’s men take on Kosovo in Belfast tomorrow evening and he’s calling on a sold out National Football Stadium at Windsor Park to help roar his team on to victory.

We think that we can get the result we want against them and I think we have much stronger and more experienced squad going into this game

“The fans are a big part of our game going forward and I think, when you get the full crowd behind you it lifts the players and it lifts everybody and it can also have an adverse affect on the opposition,” he said. 

 

“It’s important that we start well and it’s important that we get fans off their seats and on their feet and I’m sure the crowd will roar us home to a victory.”

“There wasn’t anything that we didn’t know about Kosovo out there that surprised us. All of their players are playing at the top level in European leagues and as a nation they are rising up the rankings.

“We think that we can get the result we want against them and I think we have much stronger and more experienced squad going into this game. For me, we have to show that. We have to show our experience and quell the attacking threat they’ve got and also impress our game going forward on them.”

Baraclough has used the competition to blood new talent but says he landing that elusive first win is front and centre of his thoughts.

“That first Nations League victory is important to everybody. We know what the Nations League has meant to us in the last few years but, of course, winning games is important. We’ve talked about developing players but you also have to win at some stage and that’s right at the forefront of my mind.

“I think we’ve spoken about it with the players and that’s got to be the outcome for us. It’s no good developing for the future and not being able to win games. Before June we had done that in the games that we played in November and March, but June wasn’t a good month for us. We have to put that to the back of our minds now and look forward to tomorrow night.”