After they closed out their group with a 1-1 draw away against Israel, the national boss concedes that his side did not do themselves justice as they failed to reach Brazil
Eden Ben Basat's header had given the hosts the lead in Tel Aviv shortly before half-time but Steven Davis equalised in the 73rd minute to gain a point that moved the visitors one point above Luxembourg to finish fifth in Group F.
The result brought to an end a run of three defeats for Northern Ireland, that period having included losses against Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.
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But the former Shamrock Rovers manager was happy with his side's performance on the night at a difficult away destination.
"It was a good result, let's be honest," he remarked. "I said to the players before the game that, whatever happened, they could not let anyone question their character at the end - and I think they did that.
"This a difficult place to come and that's proved by the fact that only Russia have won here in the group but I felt the players did extremely well in the second half.
"I think a draw was the least we deserved given the way we played. Israel came and stole a win in Belfast so it would have been nice to steal one back here."