Kenny Cunningham: Ireland shouldn't fear Wales and can get better

Ex-Ireland defender discusses the draw against Serbia

Ireland, Daryl Murphy

Ireland's Daryl Murphy celebrates scoring their second goal of the game ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Kenny Cunningham feels Ireland shouldn't panic after an indifferent performance in the 2-2 draw with Serbia in the opening 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Keeping hold of the ball proved to be a problem as a well as composure when in the lead.

Ex-Ireland centre-back Kenny joined Off The Ball to look back on the game in intricate tactical detail and also gave his assessment on the Boys in Green's likely ambitions with World Cup qualification in mind.

"People make Wales favourites for the group and I think that's fair. But we certainly shouldn't fear them. They're a settled team, have a system of play which the players understand, which is ingrained and they're very comfortable with. It suits their top players. Bale in particular has that floating role behind the main striker. But we certainly shouldn't fear them," he said. 

"I still think we can get better. We are better than we were last night. I absolutely know that, so I think there's more to come from us. So for me, it's just getting that balance right and that front foot football, getting more engaged with the opposition higher up the pitch, just being a little bit more adventurous in terms of how we close down the opposition. I think that's where we're at our best. We're more of a high-energy, high-pressing  game and it suits us better. So I'm certainly not downhearted after the result last night. Yes, we can do better. I know that, we've already seen that in the summer. We shouldn't panic. This is the same group of players who excelled against Italy and for a first half against France, took the game to the home nation and really rattled them for the opening 45 minutes. So we certainly shouldn't panic. But there is detail we need to improve on."