Jonny Evans determined to get Northern Ireland back on track

Jonny Evans
Jonny Evans

Jonny Evans is looking to get Northern Ireland back on track on Thursday night after a poor start to their UEFA Nations League campaign.

Defeats to Bosnia twice and once to Austria is not what NI manager Michael O’Neill would have wanted.

And Leicester City defender Evans says they are determined to get a positive result against close neighbours the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday night - but insists that performances have not been as bad as results would suggest.

“Obviously the first game against Bosnia was our biggest disappointment.

“It was a good performance and we dominated the game but we didn’t take the chances we created and I have watched it back a couple of times.

“And the main thing we have to take away from it and even the away game against Bosnia we had chances.

“And those chances came from good play. They weren’t chances caused by a bit of luck. We worked the ball up the pitch well.

“The score line could have been different in all three games and definitely the two Bosnia games.

“In the second game we let it go a bit and they got to 2-0 and when you are playing away from home it is more difficult to get back into the game.

“We are probably disappointed with the points we have got but we are pleased with the performance and the progression we are making.”

Evans insists the team is working hard to change the style of play they have been used to in recent campaigns.

“I think the team has been in a good place and we are disappointed with a few of the results we have had.

“The performances could have been better at times and I think that is what Michael is trying to get us to play.

“We are trying to play more football from the back by using the goalkeeper but these things take time and it can be difficult because we only have ten days together.

“And some of those days are recovery days and the day before a match you can’t do much.

“So it is difficult for Michael to implement that. We have been looking back at games and we are working on that.”

“Every international fixture there is so much riding on it.

“If it’s the Nations League or the qualifiers.

“You still have to have the guts to play football and you have to be strong in your mind that you want to play that way and there will be no difference when we play the Republic on Thursday.

“We will try to work on what we have been doing and we will try to bring those to the game on Thursday night.”

And Evans says things have been difficult at his club after the tragic death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after a helicopter crash at a league encounter.

“It’s been a big loss for the club and the city as a whole.

“Obviously, only being at the club four or five months now, I didn’t have the same relationship as a lot of the lads have had over the years.

“But from the first day I got there, they spoke about the chairman nearly every day.

“There’s such fondness for him and the things he was doing for the club.

“They loved him really, so when everything happened, to see the ways the lads reacted in the changing room - they were all devastated.

“It was a big loss and it affected a lot of people in a way I didn’t imagine.

“The club have handled it in a tremendous way and the players too.”