Richard Dunne: 'I can't see anything to lose by starting Aaron Connolly against Switzerland'
Oct. 13, 2019
But I am sure that, no matter the disappointment of Saturday, the players will feel the draw was an ok result and they can try to win in Geneva.
The players will be ready to give 100% again, as they always do, but just with that bit more care, technique, to get the win.
If Ireland were to get a win on Tuesday it would be one of the biggest wins in a long time.
I spoke to a Danish person who watched their game on Saturday at home to the Swiss, he said the Swiss battered them and it was only that their keeper was on form, and that they managed a lucky, late goal, that got them the win.
So that's not good for us, the fact that the Swiss played so well but lost, they'll be hurt in Geneva on Tuesday and they have an opportunity to put it right in front of their own fans.
So winning is a big ask and if we can come away with a draw, it's still in our hands to qualify. Ireland were given an opportunity when Denmark could only draw in Georgia last month, and we didn't make the most of that in Tbilisi.
I'm not sure we really realised how important those two extra points in Georgia could be and it was an opportunity lost.
You go into a game like Georgia away wanting to win. As the match developed, Ireland didn't deserve to win it, so you do take from it that a draw is a fair result and you're happy enough.
But the team never really showed that they did want to win it, the play just doesn't look fluid to me in games like that, it's hard to get a long spell of possession, to get your passing going, your movement is off.
I think Mick will make changes to the team, freshen it up.
I don't know what James McClean is bringing to the team right now, other than 100% commitment.
But that's not enough, commitment and effort is the minimum you demand from all the players, you need more guile, more skill, more technique, to give the players further up the field to get into good positions, and we're not getting that.
There is a role there for Aaron Connolly to start. He would frighten defenders with his pace and having that sort of player in the team would force the Swiss defenders to drop off more, and that gives us more space in midfield.
Every player has their own attributes, but we don't have someone else like Connolly, we haven't had that for a long time. He looks sharp, he looks confident, he wants the ball and is willing to make those runs.
For this game on Tuesday we need someone who can stretch the Swiss. So what do you do with Connolly?
Start him, let him run them ragged for 70 minutes but tire himself out, or bring him on for the last 25 minutes? That's Mick's call to make but I can't see anything to lose by having him in from the start.
As a centre half, you want everything in front if you, you hate being turned and having to chase players.
If you have a player who is going to do that to you constantly, as Connolly could do, it takes its toll on you, you start thinking 'I don't fancy this, I'll drop off five yards to give myself a better chance', and that's when the space opens up for other players.
But if you do that only in the last 10 or 15 minutes, those opportunities to run in behind are limited, as a defender you think 'only ten minutes left, he can't do too much damage'.
So if you can do it early, turn the defenders early, don't be afraid to play a few balls into the channels, then the space opens up for someone like Connolly.
Doing it for 90 minutes is very difficult at international level but Connolly would add something to the Irish team that we don't have now, the way we played on Saturday where there was no threat until he came on.
The Swiss have always done well in qualifying, they always get to major finals. But they never do anything when they are there.
I don't see a huge difference between Ireland and Switzerland, I don't feel their individual players are better than ours.
We shouldn't be afraid of those teams, they don't have players we need to fear, they play to a certain style and they are a strong unit but man for man the players cancel each other out.
Apart from their goal, which was decent, they were ordinary in Dublin.
If we use our brains, use the ball, we can win the game but we can't be a side who go out to look for a draw.
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