Worthington - Get to work
Nigel Worthington has told his players to get to work if they are to avoid another embarrassing defeat.
Last Updated: 21/11/08 5:31pm
Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington has told his players to get to work if they are to avoid another embarrassing defeat like the 2-0 loss to Hungary in midweek.
A large chunk of the Northern Irish team have failed to make a first team place stick at club level and Worthington is now demanding they take responsibility for improving themselves after their poor display against Hungary.
"They have got to do extra work themselves," he said. "That drive has got to come from them.
"There was not enough physical strength and energy in their play. That was obvious.
"If we turn up in that state against San Marino away from home it could be very embarrassing. I have told them (the players) that. I was honest with them.
"The display was simply not good enough and highlighted where a lot of our players are in terms of not playing for their clubs."
Northern Ireland were missing Aaron Hughes, Steven Davis and George McCartney for the friendly - but that was no excuse for the all-round under-par performance and the players are in agreement with Worthington about the display.
Keith Gillespie, one of the nation's most experienced players with 81 caps to his name, said: "We are international players but at times we looked lost. I cannot explain why that was but we cannot afford to reproduce performances like that.
"We were awful at times. I would not say it was a lack of commitment, we just never got going. The only positive we can take is that there were no qualifying points at stake."
And David Healy joined the soul-searching with an apology to the fans.
"I underperformed, we underperformed as individuals and as a team and if that is the case the outcome is what evidently happened," he told the Belfast Telegraph. "We got beat and we were well beaten.
"Probably for the first time in a long time, we've let, not so much ourselves, but the fans down. Times are difficult at the minute but they pay for trips and match tickets. We underperformed and let them down."