'They're too scared to go forward' – Christian Eriksen taunts Ireland as Phil Babb questions Martin O'Neill's future

Denmark talisman Christian Eriksen accused the Republic of Ireland of being ‘too scared to go forward’ as the Martin O’Neill’s side ground our a dour 0-0 draw in Aarhus.

Erikson was tormentor in chief as Denmark tore Ireland to shreds in a 5-1 World Cup play-off win in Dublin last November and the Tottenham midfielder was scathing of Ireland’s display as they failed to get a single shot on goal in the final game of a disastrous UEFA Nations League campaign.

“We should have won with the chances we had, but it was a difficult game to play,” Eriksen told Sky Sports. “Ireland took their time on everything and were time wasting where they could.

“They rarely went forward and it was difficult to break them down, which is why we only have a few chances. Normally those chances are good enough to score and finish the game off, but we didn’t.

“There was a lot of defending on their side and it is difficult to break down a team with 11 men in their own half. They play like this every game we play against them. In the second game in Ireland (World Cup play-off defeat), they tried to go forward and they saw what happened when they went forward. That’s probably why they are too scared to go forward.”

Former Ireland defender Phil Babb questioned whether O’Neill is the man to continue in his current role heading into the Euro 2020 qualifiers next year, as he suggested a lack of tactical plan is a major concern for a side that have failed to score in their last four matches.

“I think he will be given the chance to carry on. Whether he should be I’m not so sure,” Babb stated.

“Do they change the philosophy or do just keep it tight and hope we can nick a goal from a set-piece? In the last four games that I’ve watched, I haven’t seen any particular style of play that would allow you to progress in a long qualifying campaign. 

“The manager needs to be more creative. He could have brought on Conor Hourihane, who can see a pass, but he went for Cyrus Christie. That kind of decision doesn’t work for me.

“I don’t think they got on the ball enough. I don’t think Jeff Hendrick got on the ball enough and the stats don’t lie. Going forward, we had nothing to offer.

“It was disappointing. It was a free game, a dead rubber and we wanted to the boys to go an express themselves and be a little more creative, enjoy themselves, but it didn’t happen.

“This point is worth nothing, but we need more going forward. I didn’t see any signs of improvement.

“We can talk about a number of things. Injuries to key players, off the filed disruption that really unsettled the lads a couple of months back and he (Martin O’Neill) has gone backwards.

“Now they are in pot three and will get two difficult teams in the play-offs. It’s not looking good.”

Meanwhile, injured Ireland striker Jonathan Walters did his best not to criticise O’Neill and his management team, as he suggested the Ireland players need to take more responsibility on the field.

“We know the year hasn’t been great. We need to start creating chances and getting more goals,” said Walters.

“If you have a qualifier away in Denmark and you get a 0-0, then you take that away from home, but we then need to play differently at home and we have been playing like an away team in home matches.

“Ultimately a manager will be judged on qualifying or tournaments and how well you do when you get to tournaments and we have go to into the qualifiers in the New Year believing we can do better.”

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