Ireland's home showings worrying Brian Kerr
The team have scored one goal in two 2018 World Cup qualifiers at the Aviva Stadium21:33 Monday 27 March 2017, 21:33 27 Mar 2017
Former Ireland manager Brian Kerr has concerns about the team's performances leading into the three remaining home games in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Ireland have managed to accrue 11 points to sit joint top of the group but the home performances have been poor with a fortuitous 1-0 win over Georgia and a scoreless stalemate against Wales on Friday night.
A lack of guile appears to be a major issue for Ireland and perhaps in that light, the fact that rivals Serbia and Austria (Moldova too) still have to visit Dublin might not look like the advantage it should be.
"Well, if you look at Seamus Coleman closely, his first three possessions in the match, his 'out ball' was towards Walters, not in the right wing position where he might be trying to play it in at his feet, even 15-20 yards in off the touchline and it was a ball forwards towards him. Now, he won two out of three with a flick on. But that was the approach," said Kerr on Off The Ball, going on to explain that a full back should have three or four options to make a pass.
"We didn't have that option. I wondered why Jeff Hendrick wasn't looking for the ball to try and get it to his feet.
"Hendrick's the one we're looking to now if Robbie Brady and Wes are not playing and for me the other night, his performance was very poor and the whole team was quite disappointing.
"You go to a home match, I expect a bit more from Ireland other than what we saw at home to Georgia and Wales where we got one goal from two games - Seamus Coleman pulling a goal out of the bag against Georgia with a run along the end line and a few bobbles back and forwards to him.
"But other than that, Georgia out-played us in there. That worries me when we got into the Austria and Serbia matches saying 'We've got 11 points and three more home games'. But the home games we've had, we haven't conceded but we haven't done anything either."
Neil Taylor of Wales is sent off by Referee Nicola Rizzoli ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
However, he added that the caveat is that Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan's absences were a factor in the creativity stakes.
Referee Nicola Rizzoli has received some criticism for the way in which he managed the game in terms of not being too card happy in the first half despite some robust challenges.
Kerr gave his thoughts on that, saying, "I think there was a leniency on his part that was reasonable for most of the first half. Unfortunately, maybe that leniency was taken for granted by some of the players and it went too far. Initially, I would have looked at it and saying he was doing well, he was making good decisions and he was being fair and reasonable and not too finicky about fouls. Unfortunately that turned sour for Ireland as the match went on and John O'Shea was the victim of what could have been a red card offence and Seamus Coleman's injury then from Taylor's four. But Glenn Whelan got away with the elbow before half time too so while we, Martin O'Neill and the staff can complain that Gareth Bale got off lightly, I think Glenn probably got off lightly. But it was in keeping with how the match was refereed in the first half."
The former Ireland manager also added that if Bale had been red carded for his tackle on O'Shea, then there wouldn't have been any more serious incidents or tackles to follow.
But he also couldn't understand the booing towards Bale from the stands early on, long before the tackle.
"I just kind of thought it's strange stuff," said Kerr.
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