Nigel Worthington said he hoped David Healy's scoring form would go "on for a long time" after the striker shone in the new Northern Ireland manager's first game in charge.
The Fulham FC forward was on target in the fifth and 35th minutes at Windsor Park as Northern Ireland won 3-1 against Liechtenstein in their first game since Worthington took over from Lawrie Sanchez. Healy has now scored eleven goals in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying. His new coach said: "Let's hope it goes on for a long time, at least over the next five games."
Liechtenstein manager Hans Peter Zaugg was no less impressed with the striker, saying: "He has fantastic qualities. When he gets chances, he turns them into goals. Sometimes you don't notice him, he's not in the game, but when an opportunity comes he's there." Nonetheless, Zaugg did not excuse his side for the errors that helped the hosts. "There was a lack of concentration and class in our team," he said. "I saw things that are simply not acceptable at this level."
The Northern Irish were good value for their win with a first competitive strike from Kyle Lafferty of Burnley FC early in the second period adding to Healy's opening salvo. Worthington said: "I was delighted [Lafferty] scored - he's a whole-hearted player who does a tremendous job for the team. He takes a battering for a big man and is also a good ally for David Healy."
Worthington was "pleased to start with a win" and pointed out that Healy's fifth-minute header "helped settle us and get the show on the road". Now top of Group F, the question remains as to whether they can qualify for the finals. Worthington said: "All we can do is look at getting a points tally that might take us there. Other teams competing for the top two places will obviously drop points. We have to focus on our own job and try to do it well."
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