Advertisement

Andorra win 'a really positive night' - Ballard

Daniel Ballard in action for Northern Ireland
Daniel Ballard was named Northern Ireland captain in the absence of Jonny Evans [PressEye]

Northern Ireland captain Daniel Ballard says Tuesday's 2-0 win over Andorra was "a professional job" from his side.

Liverpool defender Conor Bradley capped a stunning breakthrough season with two goals in Murcia to defeat the minnows.

Three days after scoring against Spain in Mallorca, Ballard was handed the armband in the absence of Jonny Evans, who did not travel for the second game.

"It was a really positive night," said Sunderland defender Ballard.

Ballard also said being handed the armband by manager Michael O'Neill was a "proud moment".

"It was really nice and it gave me that extra motivation," added the 24-year-old.

"I was pretty taken aback by it. I was excited all night and looking forward to the moment."

Northern Ireland never looked troubled in the win over Andorra as Bradley netted twice in the first half and Ballard felt "on the whole, it was a good night".

"We got two early goals and dealt with any threat that they had.

"We could have went on to score a few more, so hopefully that is something we can look back on."

Despite the heavy defeat by Spain on Saturday, the win over Andorra means that Northern Ireland's 2024 continued in a positive manner ahead of facing Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Belarus in the Nations League.

With both matches taking place in Spain, the June window was the longest time the squad had spent together and Ballard added that it helped the team come closer together as O'Neill targets a major tournament for his young squad.

"We're spending more time with each other and getting to know how each other plays.

"We're learning from the gaffer and getting a structure as to how we want to play.

"It's important and good we played a team like Spain to show us that level, and then against Andorra it was more about is on the ball.

"I think it has been a positive two weeks together."