The former Shamrock Rovers and current Northern Irish Manager was on hand to chat to us yesterday while out promoting the new FIFA 13 Ultimate Team game.
Balls: First off Micheal do you play video games?
O’Neil: Not particularly if I’m honest, when I was at Dundee United we used to play “Saga Sports” Which was one of the first sports games. We used to play the Ice Hockey game more than anything else, with the lads on an afternoon or an evening, but no I wouldn't be a huge fan. My daughter who’s nine just got a Google Nexus she’s downloading loads of games and stuff, but no I wouldn't spend a lot of time gaming.
Balls: Because of the scenes last night do you think the Setanta Cup’s future is in jeopardy?
O’Neil: It’s a difficult one for me I haven’t seen any of the media around that or what actually happened and it’s unfortunate that it has happened. Its difficult for the tournament because of the scheduling of games on Monday Nights which are not particularly the best option to create interest in the tournament, but to be able to say you’re All Ireland Champions is a big thing. I don’t understand why some of the clubs haven’t really embraced the tournament, for me as a manager I always like the challenge of going against different opposition. I would certainly hope that any of what happened in Belfast wont jeopardies that.
Balls: Do you think the Northern Clubs have less interest in it?
O'Neil: I think the Northern clubs look at the tournament and think we cant win it, which is a little bit disappointing to be honest and because they have other commitments the League or the Irish Cup they have to balance things around that. I can understand Cliftonville you know they haven’t won a League title for a long time, but some of the other clubs you know I think it’s a massive opportunity the tournament comes around at a good time looking at the results particularly in this round of games you know the Northern teams I think just don’t believe they’ll have a real impact on the tournament.
Balls: Will you approach the Russia game in the same way you approached the Portugal game?
O'Neil: You’re going up against top countries, you have to realistic in how you approach those games the Portuguese game was away from home so that was a different aspect. We’ll probably play a litte more purposely attacking minded as we’re at home against Russia, but Russia, you know they've won their four games and not conceded a goal, they’re an extremely good team. We’ll have to make sure we’re very difficult to beat and to break down, but we hope to have greater possession than we would have had in Moscow or Porto. It’s about realising you cant go "gung-ho" against these teams to try to win that would be fool hardy to try and do that.
Balls: 42 managerial casualties in the four leagues this season so far and Brian Mcdermott being the latest managerial casualty do you think there has been a culture change in football?
O'Neil: There certainly is a lack of patience with supporters and that transcends up to board members and owners. I don’t understand why someone thinks firing a manager is going to solve all the problems. Whoever comes in at Reading is not going to win eight game in a row, its not going to happen, weather you bring Mourinho or Ferguson its not going to happen. The decision baffles me to be fair given the work. The new manager that comes in has the same players there’s no transfer window to operate or anything so if you’re going to do it and you don’t believe he’s the right man for the job well bring the new manager in when he has a transfer window to operate under.
Balls: Where do you think that impatience comes from?
O'Neil: I think it comes from the fact there’s a lot of wealthy people involved who don’t really have a great understanding of football, lets be honest that’s the truth. Manchester United were seven points clear last year and they went and lost the league so if it had have been the other way around do you think Mancini would be in the job? There has to be a patience and has to be an understanding because when teams lose games now it’s the managers fault
Balls: Does the average supporter lack knowledge about the game
O'Neil: I remember in my second season at Rovers we won the league, played in the cup final and played againts Juventus in Europe. The season after we had a wee sticky spell and the supporters were saying we need to change manager. The Supporters really need to be a bit more clued in about what their on what their demands are.
Michael O’Neill supporting EA SPORTS™ FIFA 13 Ultimate Team. Build your squad, acquire new players and compete with your Ultimate Team. Buy FIFA points NOW. For more information log onto http://www.ea.com/uk/football/fifa-ultimate-team.