Writer: Mike Field
Date:Thursday July 30 2009
Martin O'Neill was delighted with the result against Atlante and is pleased to see us progress in the Peace Cup.
Speaking on the official site Monny's 'genuine delight' at making it through to the semi finals phase of the tournament couldn't be ignored.
'Naturally, I am delighted. I thought our second half performance was excellent. I thought we were well below par in the first half - maybe that was the conditions - however I thought the effort was excellent in the second half.
'I am pleased because the semi-final gives us another competitive game. It comes around rather quickly on Friday night but when we set out in the first place, it was an aim of ours to go as far as we could.
'I accept it is a balancing act - players coming back to full fitness but also making sure there is a competitive spirit about us too.
'I am delighted to be here in the semi-finals. Judging by the reaction of the players in the dressing room after the game, they are too.'
Now the official site, diplomatic as ever makes slight praise of Atlante as being stiff competition. This is a team I've been led to believe finished 14th in their own league last season (if I'm wrong I don't care), and more importantly seemed to be more hatchet men than footballers but more of that later.
Continuing Monny praised Ashley Young (surprise, surprise):
'I thought Ashley was just fantastic for us - particularly when you consider he has only just started training with us again. He is an immense footballer and tonight he showed how important he is for us.'
Sorry and all Monny I disagree.
Ash was as Ash is. Phenomenal at points, that one run was sublime...why did he forget to cross and put in a telling ball at the end of it?
It's also hard to not be noticed as our main outlet for attack, when the team simply under normal circumstances refuse to go via the right.
Tonight that was different.
Albrighton came on, and was far more dangerous than Ash. He wasn't outstanding, a fantastic cross that some of our first team could learn from - that led to Ash's goal stands out - but Ash outshining Albrighton tonight...no.
Ash showed his importance with a very good header, an opportunity created by Albrighton. I would also say more importantly tonight Cuellar showed his worth, Guzan, Carew, blimey Hokey-Cokey got back to the player we thought he was and now hopes he kicks on from but hey why not Albrighton's potential importance considering he also scored?
Ash is important, but he's by no means the 'genius' finished article the PR suggests. It would be nice to let him just reach his potential, instead of making his potential unreachable by pointless media comments.
As for the rest of the match, the referee was worse than I even remember the likes of Rennie, Halsey and many others who I thankfully have omitted from my memory. The bookings were ridiculous, the elbow on Albrighton was criminal - this was meant to be a friendly, not an excuse for a sub talented Mexican team and what I can only assume was their pool buddy to attempt to decimate most of our players.
Like it or not when Monny wrongly 'had a word' with the latest ass to fall on his...erm...manhood maybe as that was one thing their team seemed to lack, it's understandable that he was getting so riled.
Fair enough, having a go at a player who fell down after a challenge from Ashley Young is more than ironic but it'd be hard not to lose your rag when faced with a team and a referee such as we had the unfortunate pleasure of facing.
The Peace Cup is meant to be a spectacle, a prestigious tournament (or so we keep being told) - maybe they should remember that.
Then again we weren't without our own problems, Ash alone upfront? Heskey and Carew partnering which has never worked? Osbourne again?
It was a good win and our performance in the second half was much improved, and the result was justified and deserved.
We ain't there yet, and things aren't rosy...but whilst results should never cloud problems, the on pitch performance was more than a step in the right direction in the second half.
We are known throughout the land now as a fast paced, counter attacking team who play good football. The second half of this match was probably the closest we have come in the last 18 months.
Now we improve, we become more consistent and we all get back to where we should be.
Date:Thursday July 30 2009
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