O'Neill feels Mexico defeat was 'excellent preparation' for Ireland

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Despite going down 3-1 in New Jersey on Thursday, the Republic of Ireland boss believes he has learned a lot ahead of a key clash with Austria

Martin O'Neill insists Republic of Ireland's defeat to Mexico served as "excellent preparation" for their World Cup qualifier against Austria.

Mexico produced a dominant performance to beat an understrength Ireland 3-1 in New Jersey on Thursday, with Jesus Corona, Raul Jimenez and Carlos Vela striking before Stephen Gleeson netted a consolation for O'Neill's men.

Ireland take on Uruguay in another friendly on Sunday in Dublin before the important Austria clash on June 11, also at home.

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"In terms of our preparation for the main game against Austria, I thought it was excellent," O'Neill told reporters.

"First of all, I was delighted with the game. Secondly, quite a number of players have not played football for quite a considerable amount of time. 

"I thought it was a great work-out, a great exercise for us."

O'Neill experimented with a three-man defence for the match, with Cyrus Christie and captain James McClean operating as wing-backs.

"We have to try it, that's the whole point," said the Ireland boss.

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"That's what I said in the last two or three days: let's have a look at it because we might have to do it at some point in our World Cup campaign, we might have to change systems.

"You can play a number of systems but you have to deal with situations.

"Mexico played much better than us, they deserved to win the game. They were very good, dealt with the ball very well and I thought were much fitter than us. We can learn a great deal from the game."

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