Kevin Kilbane has elaborated upon what he made of Aaron Connolly's performance against Switzerland, and where he believes players across the team could have performed better.
The former Ireland international was on Off the Ball's 'The Football Show' on Wednesday night when he said that Aaron Connolly had a role to play in Switzerland’s first goal against Ireland.
“He probably cost us the first goal last night. His lack of awareness cost us the first goal in allowing [Manuel] Akanji to step forward.
“That is his relative immaturity in playing football. That was only his second-ever senior game [starting] at any level of football.
“He didn’t get back into position quick enough. He allowed [Granit] Xhaka to receive the ball when he should’ve been on him.
“He allowed Akanji to get out and that’s what cost us the first goal ultimately,” Kilbane said.
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) October 17, 2019
Kilbane was on Friday’s OTB AM and reiterated his belief despite coming under criticism himself.
While he stated that Connolly was not solely to blame for Haris Seferovic’s goal, he thinks the Brighton & Hove Albion man could have done more.
“You say one thing and you get a bit of stick. It was a basic error, that’s all it was, that the lad made that cost us the goal.
“Or led to the goal, I should say, it didn’t really cost us directly but indirectly it did. It’s those sort of little things, basic things that you need to learn as a kid,” Kilbane said.
While the former Everton man did acknowledge that other players such as James McClean and James Collins were also to blame, he believes that Connolly must get back into position quicker in the future.
“We’re not playing for fun now. This is a big moment in the game where if he switches on quickly [the goal could have been prevented.]
“It wasn’t as if he needed to sprint. All he needed to do was jog back into position. But the position wasn’t taken quickly enough and they broke out.
“It’s kind of a minor thing but it’s minor things that coaches and managers look at that lead to goals,” Kilbane commented.
Ireland will now have to likely beat Denmark to qualify directly for Euro 2020 in a crucial game that takes place in the Aviva Stadium on the 18th of November.