Martin O'Neill backs Ireland's ability to break down a miserly Italian defence

He also explained why he subbed off James McCarthy

Martin O'Neill

Ireland’s manager Martin O'Neill dejected against Belgium ©INPHO/James Crombie

Martin O'Neill believes Ireland might only need one goal against Italy to progress to the Euro 2016 knockout stages.

After the 3-0 defeat to Belgium this afternoon, a victory over Group E winners Italy is necessary and despite a lack of cutting edge today, O'Neill is confident that the Boys in Green can find a goal against a tough Italian defence.

"We didn't create as much today against a very fine Belgian side but we are capable of breaking Italy down and I think we might only have to take the one chance and that might be enough," said the manager.

"All I do know is what we have to do ourselves. We have to win the game and that can be our only thought. We must go and try and win it."

On substituting James McCarthy after his two errors resulted in two goals for Belgium, O'Neill said his decision was due to the midfielder tiring and for tactical reasons.

"James was getting tired as were a number of our players during the course of it. I think it's a natural consequence of having less possession when you're chasing the game. It's a lot more difficult. He was getting tired and I wanted to add a little bit more," he said.