Michael O'Neill wants Northern Ireland to pile pressure on Netherlands by beating Belarus
Watch Belarus vs Northern Ireland live on Sky Sports Premier League from 7pm on Tuesday; Kick-off is at 7.45pm
By Dan Sansom
Last Updated: 10/06/19 8:19pm
Michael O'Neill wants Northern Ireland to pile pressure on the Netherlands by beating Belarus in Tuesday's European Qualifier in Borisov, live on Sky Sports.
After Saturday's comeback win over Estonia in Tallinn, victory for O'Neill's side would put them on 12 points from four games, nine points clear of Ronald Koeman's beaten Nations League finalists.
The Dutch may have two games in hand but with their next qualifier coming away to Germany in September, the gap could weigh heavily on their shoulders.
"The most important thing for us was to try and not drop points in any of these four games because obviously we have to assume the Netherlands and Germany won't drop points," O'Neill said.
"But the nice thing for us is we can put pressure on, in particular, the Netherlands because they have games to play and make up."
Northern Ireland have relied on late Josh Magennis strikes to win both of their last two matches, at home to Belarus in March and then in Tallinn on Saturday night.
However, they still remain on course to win four qualifiers to open a campaign for the first time, while Belarus have played three and lost three. Their latest defeat was 2-0 at home to Germany, but O'Neill is still expecting a tough test.
"As Estonia showed the other night, Belarus will look at this game as one they potentially could win," he added.
"With that in mind, it'll be an extremely difficult game. They have talented players in their squad, they have players in season as well.
"We come into the game mentally in a good place because we won the last game, our mental tiredness is not the same, so that should be the key factor for us.
"We look forward to the game and we have everything to gain by trying to go out and get another three points.
"The carrot is huge for us. The ability to have 12 points after four games will be a big achievement and put us in a strong position. That's all the motivation the players need."