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Nations League: Northern Ireland a work in progress – O’Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill was disappointed as his team hit the woodwork three times in a 2-0 defeat by Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The result leaves O’Neill’s side bottom of their Nations League group after losing all three games.

“We don’t have that player who can win you games when it’s tight,” he said.

“So when opportunities come our way we have to take them – in these three games we have had numerous chances but we’ve not taken them.”

George Saville was first to strike the post before substitute Gavin Whyte was denied twice by the woodwork – both players were also guilty of glaring misses.

A goal in each half from Roma striker Edin Dzeko gave the home side a victory that puts them top of Group 3 in League B with nine points from three games.

“It was the timing of the misses that hurt us – if we had gone ahead then the whole dynamic of the game would have changed,” added O’Neill.

“George hits the post and should have scored before that but then there’s a mistake from Jamal (Lewis) and Dzeko punishes us.

“Then we should have been level with young Gavin’s chance and we are punished again.

“There were positive aspects of the performance but we’re still a work in progress and there’s aspects of the display that need to be addressed.

“It was not an experienced team and hopefully these games will make us more game savvy when the European qualifiers come around.”

Corry Evans was handed the captain’s armband to mark his 50th Northern Ireland appearance and he also highlighted the team’s wasteful finishing.

Dejection for Corry Evans as the hosts celebrate Edin Dzeko’s opening goal in Sarajevo

“When you come to a place like this and don’t take your chances you get punished,” said the 28-year-old Blackburn Rovers midfielder.

“It’s disappointing to lose the game but we didn’t take our chances at key moments.

“We’ve got to learn from it and learn from it quickly – we’ve got to get back to winning matches and hopefully we can do that next month.”

Northern Ireland host Austria on 18 November in their final game of the inaugural Nations League, having lost to Franco Foda’s side in Vienna last week.

Anything other than a victory will see them relegated to League C for the 2020-21 Nations League.

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