Netherlands vs Northern Ireland Live Stream: Northern Ireland have to believe they can get a result against the Netherlands in Euro 2020 qualifying on Thursday, says Michael O’Neill.
His side travel to Rotterdam knowing they likely need at least a draw to keep their hopes alive.
Germany top Group C after five games, with Northern Ireland three points ahead of the Dutch in second.
“History has taught us that you have to be resolute and difficult to beat, but also carry a threat,” said O’Neill.
The manager says his side have been working on a game plan to create doubt in the minds of the home side for the match, which kicks off at 19:45 BST.
Northern Ireland lost 2-0 to Germany in their last Euro 2020 qualifier
“We’ll have to approach it in the same way regardless of what’s required,” said O’Neill.
“If we can aim to play in the opposition half as much as possible then that’s what we’ll aim to do.
“Equally, we have to respect the quality that they have and if we do get pushed back then we have to show quality in defence.
“It’s an enormous challenge but it’s one that the players are looking forward to.”
‘We have to create doubt’
The Feyenoord Stadium has been a fortress for the Netherlands, who have won their last 16 games at ‘De Kuip’, which shows the task awaiting O’Neill’s outfit.
Northern Ireland claimed maximum points from games against Estonia and Belarus to top Group C before slipping to second after defeat by Germany last month.
The Netherlands will visit Windsor Park and then Northern Ireland travel to Hamburg to round off their campaign with a difficult double-header next month.
Paddy McNair scores against Belarus
Northern Ireland scored late winners against Estonia and Belarus to take maximum points from their first four Euro 2020 qualifying games
“If you can come out of a group with Holland and Germany, with a country of our size and our resource, then it’s a pretty massive achievement,” added O’Neill.
“The main thing was to put ourselves in the position where these games meant something.
“We’ve done that, which is testament to the players, and now we have to try and raise the level again.
“We have 12 points and this is maybe a Dutch side with a little bit of expectation on it because they’ve not qualified for the last two tournaments.
“We have to create doubt in their players and put doubt in the supporters’ minds as well.
“Hopefully if we can do that then it will give us an opportunity to capitalise on that and hopefully take something from the game.”
‘We have to focus on those who are here’
Norwich City left-back Jamal Lewis was ruled out of the Netherlands encounter with a knee injury, which O’Neill admits “is a big loss”.
“He has come into the team off the back of Chris Brunt’s retirement and is the only natural left-back that we have in the squad,” said O’Neill.
“Shane Ferguson has played there on occasion but usually plays on the left side of midfield.
“That’s the challenge that you face when you are in this job, you very rarely have a ready-made replacement, so Jamal’s injury was certainly a big blow to us.
“Conor Washington’s injury was a big blow, as was the one to Jordan Jones.
“They are three players who would arguably push to start with us, but we don’t have them available here and we have to focus on those who are here.
Norwich City left-back Jamal Lewis has impressed for Northern Ireland since his debut in 2018
“We have to believe. You have to have an attitude that you think you can get something from the game.
“We probably won’t get that many opportunities to score, so we have to be more clinical than we were in the home game against Germany.
“We have a real good structure to the team and we have a lot of experienced players who know how to handle themselves on this stage.
“That’s where we will hopefully get our belief from, which can then give us a performance which will give us something from the game.”