Club News

Albion star: Don't give up on us

But 'dizzy' Northern Ireland must regain their senses - Evans

ALBION man Jonny Evans promises Northern Ireland will not give up on their Euro 2016 dream without a fight.

The defender, whose debut campaign with the Baggies saw him collect a string of end-of-season awards including the Players' Player, continued his outstanding form for his country in the opening Group C clash against Poland.

But not even the best of Evans and G-Mac - fellow Baggie favourite Gareth McAuley - could prevent a 1-0 defeat and now the second game against Ukraine brings matters to a head for the Green and White Army.

And Evans has been speaking about the redoubtable team spirit which has seen Northern Ireland through the qualifying campaign but now faces fresh challenges.

Said the Baggies man: "There were times in the qualifying campaign when things looked to be slipping away from us and we managed to produce something.

"I still think we can do that here in France. We'll watch the Poland game and see what we can do better and I think you'll definitely see an improved performance on Thursday night."

But Evans acknowledges his team must do much better with the ball against Ukraine having at times been left "dizzy" trying to win back possession from Poland.

He explained: "We don't see it in the Premier League a lot but European teams are very good at controlling the game.

"They were 1-0 up and made us run and took the game away from us by doing it.

"Your legs are heavy, you're exhausted and when you do get the ball back it's very difficult then to produce that bit of quality because you're almost dizzy. They're not afraid to keep the ball and make you work hard to get it back.

"There were times in the first half where they had a lot of possession and I thought we defended quite well but on the flip side we found it hard to get out.

"We had a lot of men behind the ball. I think we'll learn from the fact that maybe at times we need to try and play a bit more - we rushed things a bit. Especially in that heat, and against that quality of opposition, you know if you keep giving the ball back to them that it's going to be a long night.

"It would have been great to have taken something from the Poland game. Now we know we can't lose our next one, especially with going to Paris against Germany in the last game who are going to dominate the game better than anyone.

"So it might be a make-or-break for us against Ukraine on Thursday night and hopefully it makes for a good game. We'll try to stamp our authority more on the match when we play Ukraine.

"The loss to Poland has put us in a position now that we have to maybe go for it."