Cyprus 0 Northern Ireland 0: Michael O'Neill accepts rebuilding process has a long way to go as he continues search for first victory

O'Neill is yet to taste victory since taking the Northern Ireland job after his latest draw in Cyprus

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill accepted his rebuilding process has a long way to go after overseeing another agonising away day in Cyprus.

Northern Ireland struggles on the road comfortably predate O'Neill's arrival at the start of 2012, but a 0-0 draw in Nicosia means he has yet to taste victory away from home and appears no closer to breaking that sequence.

His side side have not even scored in an away friendly for 13 matches following Wednesday night's stalemate - a sorry streak that stretches back eight years.

An even worse result looked on the cards when Gareth McAuley was sent off in the 75th minute, but his team-mates at least ensured Northern Ireland did not slip to defeat against a side ranked 122nd in the world.

"We are miles away from being the finished article," he told Press Association Sport.

"We we are trying to build an international team here and it will take time.

"We weren't good in possession on the night and they were better on the ball. They put us under pressure because we continually gave the ball away cheaply and that was the most disappointing thing for us.

"In the second half we were better, we had one or two half chances, but the lads know we are capable of a lot more than that.

"We had a number of players who were not quite at the pace of the game so a draw, given the level of performance, probably isn't the worst result we could have got."

O'Neill did not feel aggrieved by McAuley's dismissal, even though his late lunge at Dimitris Christofis took place too far from goal to be considered a clear scoring opportunity.

McAuley was the latest player to be sent off under O'Neill's reign, following Chris Brunt, Kyle Lafferty and Jonny Evans, and his manager felt it was a 50-50 call.

"It looked like the guy was possibly through so Gareth was given a decision to make and stretched to get there," he said.

"I would want to see it again but I wouldn't say it was totally unjustified.

"In a friendly game could the referee have given a yellow? Possibly, because their player wasn't through the middle of the pitch, he was coming from the wide area.

"But we gave the ball away poorly and it was disappointing to see one of our defenders put in that position."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all