O'Neill deserves credit for Northern Ireland progress, says Coleman

Wales head coach Chris Coleman

Northern Ireland saw their Euro 2016 campaign ended by a 1-0 defeat to Wales, but Coleman was still full of praise for their manager.

 

Wales head coach Chris ColemanWales head coach Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman has hailed the work of Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill, adding that his side had to work hard for their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016, Goal.com has reported.

Wales booked their place in the next round courtesy of Gareth McAuley's own goal on 75 minutes, which arrived following Gareth Bale's fizzed cross, continuing his side's European adventure in what is their first major tournament since 1958.

Northern Ireland head coach Michael O'NeillNorthern Ireland head coach Michael O'Neill

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland head home having recorded just one win in France, although Coleman insists O'Neill's side deserve credit for their progress, adding that the Green and Whites presented one of the sternest tests for his team to date.

And he is under little doubt that O'Neill himself deserves the plaudits, adding: "Michael O'Neill is doing a fantastic job. They'd lost two out of 15. It's a fantastic record for a country like Northern Ireland.

Wales players celebrate after the gameWales players celebrate after the game

"They'll be disappointed but they've done brilliantly in the tournament. I wasn't looking forward to this game, I knew it was going to be a tough one. They played well today. We never played as well as we could but that's credit to Northern Ireland."

Wales struggled to summon the dominance that saw them thrash Russia 3-0 in their final group game, and Coleman admits his side enjoyed a certain amount of luck at the Parc des Princes.

 

Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley reacts

But having seen his side edge through, he insists that focus has already shifted to the quarter-finals in Lille, where they will play either Belgium or Hungary.

"We will never look past the next challenge," he said. "We're sitting here today. Lady luck shone on us but I think we earned it.

"Whoever comes in front of us - Belgium and Hungary can cause us different problems. But we'll worry about that tomorrow and enjoy."

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