Netherlands carry ‘burden’ of expectation, says Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill | Football News

Northern Ireland face Netherlands in European Qualifier on Thursday, reside on Sky Sports

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill believes his aspect can capitalise on Netherlands’ weight of expectation to qualify for his or her first main worldwide competitors since 2014.

The two nations meet in a vital European Qualifier on Thursday, reside on Sky Sports, with Northern Ireland three factors forward in Group C having performed one recreation extra.

Netherlands reached the Nations League last below boss Ronald Koeman in the summertime, however are below stress to high quality for Euro 2020 after lacking out on Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.

“We know their strengths and weaknesses very well,” O’Neill instructed Sky Sports News.

“It is a crew that’s on the rise however it’s a crew with a sure stage of expectation as a result of Netherlands haven’t certified for the final two tournaments.

“This is a crew that has the burden of making an attempt to interrupt that cycle. Equally it’s in all probability not essentially the most skilled worldwide crew.

“Virgil van Dijk is arguably one of the best centre again on the earth however he has 30 caps, in order that they perhaps do not but have that stage of expertise of earlier Dutch sides.

“They are a superb crew and I positively assume they’ll develop.”Northern Ireland, who certified for his or her first main event in 30 years at Euro 2016, face Netherlands in a double header over the subsequent two worldwide breaks earlier than they go to Group C leaders Germany within the last match on November 19.

O’Neill says Memphis Depay, who marked his 50th cap with a aim in opposition to Estonia final month, is only one of a quantity of attacking threats to his aspect.

“You must level out the people inside the crew and he has been a incredible participant,” stated O’Neill, who went to observe Ajax and PSV Eindhoven on the weekend.

“He has definitely been revitalised since he went to Lyon. Any participant who performs often at each membership and worldwide stage begins to develop and develop.

“He performs because the entrance striker whereas we noticed him rather a lot at Manchester United having to play vast the place it did not probably go well with him as nicely. He appears to be like to be relishing his position.

“Ryan Babel is an effective instance of a participant who performs higher for his nationwide crew probably than he has finished at some of the golf equipment he has been at.

“We know of the goal threats from midfield; [Donny] Van de Beek and [Gini] Wijnaldium both carry a threat and equally from set pieces Matthijs de Ligt and Virgil van Dijk are huge threats.”

O’Neill says it’s a “big blow” to be with out Norwich left-back Jamal Lewis for his or her two upcoming matches, which additionally features a pleasant in opposition to Czech Republic on Monday.

The 21-year-old withdrew from the squad on Monday after a selecting up a knee damage in opposition to Aston Villa on Sunday, which wants a “small procedure”.

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