Former Norwich City boss was full of praise for his players despite a disappointing stalemate at Windsor Park
Northern Ireland remained fifth in their Euro 2012 qualifying group after a 0-0 draw with Slovenia at Windsor Park, however manager Nigel Worthington was extremely upbeat regarding individual performances.
The hosts had several good chances in front of goal, but were ultimately unable to convert their efforts into a lead. Northern Ireland are now two points behind second-placed Slovenia, although they have a game in hand over their rivals.
Despite dropping two points, Worthington was very positive and lavished praise on his players for their efforts. “Well first off it was a fantastic point. It was a nice performance. We stuck to our shape and kept our discipline. The lads were absolutely fantastic," he told Sky Sports.
“Over the two games they didn’t get the full reward they deserve. We’re on the right track. We had two or three good chances, plus half chances, so overall, very pleased.
“Yes Slovenia had a lot of possession but Lee Camp only had one big save to make and that’s what he’s there for, but I thought after that the ten outfield players were absolutely huge.
The visitors had the better of possession and dominated the ball in the first half, but Worthington claimed they were expecting this and it was nothing to be alarmed about.
“We’ve played them three times in the last three years,” he said. “We know exactly what they are about and they have good players, like we have good players.
“But I just thought we were very disciplined in the shape and the roles each individual had to do and we could’ve nicked it.”
Despite only the Faroe Islands being below his side, Worthington believes his team are still in with a chance of qualification.
He continued: “We’ve got that game in hand, and if we can win that game in hand that will be massive for us. We’re still right in the race and we’ll keep fighting till the bitter end.”
Gareth McAuley was one of Northern Ireland's more influential players at Windsow Park but while praising his captain, Worthington insists it was a team collective.
He added: “Gareth is absolutely fantastic and I’ve watched him a number of times at Ipswich this year and he has done a fantastic job, but I’ve got to say, there was a lot of immense performances out there; the energy put in, commitment and I am absolutely delighted with all of them.
Corry Evans, currently on-loan at Hull City from Manchester United, has also received his fair share of praise recently for his mature performances and Worthington expressed his delight with his display against Slovenia.
“Well, over the two games, a young lad that has played two massive games, again fantastic attitude and commitment," he said.
“He has knocked two great balls across the box and we were about a stud’s length from getting a goal, but there we go.
“So many positives, very happy and full credit goes to the players.”