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'Baird was outstanding'

18 November 2013

Praise for Royal

Chris Baird put in an 'outstanding' performance for Northern Ireland on Friday night, according to his manager Michael O'Neill.

Baird played the full game in a defensive role as his country narrowly went down 1-0 away to Turkey in a game they could well have taken something from.

O'Neill said, "We kept playing in the second half and there were some excellent performances – Chris Baird and Oliver Norwood were both outstanding.

"We played three at the back and that suits us for a number of reasons. Our centre backs are players who play at the highest level and it makes sense to get them all in the team in their natural position."

Some reports on the match incorrectly said Baird made a mistake for Turkey's goal, when O'Neill explained after the match, "[Goalkeeper] Roy [Carroll] has held his hands up. He knows himself he made the wrong decision and he's disappointed in that.

"Roy called for the ball and Chris left it for him. The centre forward just continued his run and got a toe to it.

"Chris did the right thing in thinking Roy was coming to take it but that wasn't the case.

"We responded well and maybe this is another case of us not getting what we deserved."'

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