Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough says he was “really pleased” with his side’s display against Norway despite falling to a 1-0 defeat.
The loss sees Northern Ireland remain rooted to the bottom of Nations League Group B1 without a win, but their performance in Oslo was a marked improvement on last month’s reverse fixture in Belfast, a 5-1 defeat.
“It wasn’t to be but for me (there were) a lot of positives to take out of it,” Baraclough told Sky Sports after his team’s third game in eight days.
“I think we’ve played a different system, worked on it for just a couple of days where you can just walk through things.
“The lads started really well, really positively, managed to create three or four chances.”
Baraclough made 10 changes to his team following Sunday’s defeat by Austria, and switched to a 3-5-2 formation, with goalkeeper Trevor Carson jumping into action at late notice after Bailey Peacock-Farrell aggravated a minor hip injury in the warm-up.
Forwards Conor Washington and Josh Magennis linked up well on a number of occasions but were unable to find the net, although Northern Ireland undoubtedly looked more dangerous with two strikers on the pitch than they did with a lone frontman on Sunday.
“Now we go into November knowing we can play in two or three different ways,” said Baraclough, whose attention can now turn to preparing for next month’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off final against Slovakia.
“Players that have come in tonight and had their first game in a while have acquitted themselves really well.”