Clark Has A Cunning Plan

Last updated : 07 November 2017 By Footy Mad - Editor

Ciaran Clark says Ireland must focus on their own performance, and not Christian Eriksen, over the two legs of the World Cup play-off against Denmark.

Image result for Newcastle Ciaran ClarkMartin O'Neill's side face Denmark in Copenhagen on 11 November, and in Dublin on 14 November, with the winner over the two legs qualifying for next summer's World Cup finals in Russia.

Tottenham playmaker Eriksen has scored eight goals in his last eight games for Denmark, and added another four assists during the Danes' World Cup qualifying campaign.

Age Hareide's side scored 20 goals in total as they finished second to Poland, but Newcastle defender Clark, 28, says Ireland need to concentrate on their own game during the matches at Parken Stadium on Saturday, and at the Aviva Stadium three days later.

"Obviously we know they've got good players but we've come up against teams with good individuals before," Clark said.

"We've got a lot of good players ourselves and I think if we focus on our own performance then the group and the staff are confident in our ability and if we can take that into the games then we'll be ok.

"Other teams will now know that it's not going to be a simple game against us.

"It's all about being organised and staying focused and working hard.

"We know we've got the ability to go and get goals but we've also shown that we can defend as a team, which is a real bonus."

Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane agrees with Clark that the Irish must seek to bring the game to the Danes, and urged the players to try to block out the pressure that comes from being 180 minutes away from a first World Cup finals tournament since 2002.

"The most important thing is for the country and the players to get through the games," Keane said.

"We know how tough it is and hopefully if the players turn up it would be great.

"I watched the World Cup in 1982 and was lucky to play in one in 1994 and it would be great for these lads to have that experience.

"But the Danish lads will be saying exactly the same thing. This will be a huge mental, emotional and physical challenge. This is what we are born to do.

"We won't be clever and play on the counter-attack, we'd like to be on the front foot, that suits us better, going for it and trying to get the right result."