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Lack of unity and belief cost Ukraine, says Fomenko

Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Ukraine Training - Parc OL - Lyon, France - 15/6/16 - Ukraine's coach Mykhailo Fomenko during training. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff
Football Soccer - Euro 2016 - Ukraine Training - Parc OL - Lyon, France - 15/6/16 - Ukraine's coach Mykhailo Fomenko during training. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

By Zoran Milosavljevic

LYON, France (Reuters) - Ukraine lacked unity and belief as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat by Northern Ireland in Euro 2016 Group C on Thursday, coach Mykhailo Fomenko said.

Fomenko criticised his side after the Irish pulled off their first victory at a major finals since a famous 1-0 win over hosts Spain in the 1982 World Cup.

"The players were not united on the pitch today. They failed to fulfil the requirements and it will be a tough task to lift the team for our final group match against Poland," he told a news conference.

"Perhaps they overestimated the opposition and undervalued their own ability to play at this level. We knew what to expect from Northern Ireland, their style of play did not surprise us."

Gareth McAuley opened the scoring with a thumping header after Oliver Norwood floated a free kick from the right and substitute Niall McGinn sealed victory following a sweeping move down the left.

"The fact Northern Ireland scored nine of their 16 goals in qualifying from set pieces tells a story but we were still caught napping for the first goal," said Fomenko.

"We created very little at the other end. We keep saying we had chances to score even when we didn't and today we made too many major mistakes in what was a poor performance."

Ukraine meet Poland in Marseille on Tuesday and must win to have any hope of progressing to the last 16.

Fomenko was asked whether he would start again with Yevhen Seleznyov up front, the only change in Ukraine's team following the 2-0 defeat by Germany during which striker Roman Zozulya was just as ineffective.

"I'll make that decision on match day," he replied. "This is not the time to start planning for Poland yet."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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