Stephen Kenny admitted that Ireland were masters of their own downfall after a humbling defeat in Armenia put a dramatic halt to his side’s resurgence.
reland’s miserable Nations League record was extended by a 75th minute strike from Eduard Spertsyan with the visiting side unable to create enough chances to form a hard luck story.
The Dubliner acknowledged his side toiled when it came to breaking down the 92nd-ranked side in the world, with the away camp not expecting to encounter a back five which sat deep and countered effectively.
Kenny declined to use the heat as an excuse, but added that some of his players were below the level of their club form with several members of the travelling party coming off a month’s break.
“These are the things you have to overcome and win,” said the Irish boss, who felt his side went in at the interval in control of the game and then lost their way from the restart. Armenia were more assured as the visitors ran out of steam despite eventually making five changes in the 33 degree heat.
“I accept criticism of that,” said Kenny. “We didn’t unlock the door more and create more clearcut chances. It was a tight game really overall, not a game that we deserved to lose on the balance of play and chances but we’ve lost it and only have ourselves to blame.”
Kenny had set his side a target of winning their Nations League group to improve their Euro 2024 prospects.
Now there will be fears that the campaign will go in another direction completely, with increased pressure on the Dublin date with Ukraine on Wednesday and the follow-up with Scotland on Saturday before a trip to Poland to meet the Ukrainians again.
“We’ve made life difficult for ourselves but rather than focusing on that, we’ve got to focus on bouncing back on Wednesday,” he said.
“We’ve got two home games now, we need to dust ourselves down. We’re disappointed with ourselves, we know it’s a poor result, we’re well aware of that.
“It’s a setback. This is a result we didn’t want and I’m not trying to deflect from that but we need to bounce back again this week.”