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Stuart Dallas vows to give his all in Northern Ireland's bid to get back into winning groove

By Steven Beacom ·

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Close eye: Stuart Dallas gets up close and personal with Bosnia’s Muhamed Besic

Stuart Dallas has declared that Northern Ireland must return to the winning habit - starting against Israel at Windsor Park tonight.

Michael O'Neill's men dominated Bosnia & Herzegovina in Belfast on Saturday but ultimately lost the Nations League encounter 2-1.

The outcome meant that in Northern Ireland's last eight games they have enjoyed only one victory, and that was a friendly success over South Korea.

Go beyond that and Northern Ireland savoured an impressive five-match winning streak. That's how many fixtures they have left this year - home and away to Austria in the Nations League, the return in Bosnia, an eagerly awaited November friendly in Dublin with Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland and this evening's clash at Windsor versus Israel, where no points are at stake.

"We've had a good five or six days together and we don't want to be going away on Wednesday back to our clubs with nothing to take from it," said Dallas.

"We'll take the positives from the Bosnia game and we'll move forward and look at Israel. Hopefully we can get a positive result because we have got to get back to winning games.

"Israel's going to be a tough match, and I don't know what the manager is going to do but whatever team is out there you can be sure they'll put in 100% and try to get a result.

"I want to play every game, but it's up to the manager what he does. Friendly or no friendly, playing for your country is a privilege and it's something I always want to do.

"It was disappointing to lose on Saturday. We dominated the game, but if you don't put the ball in the net, especially at this level, you get punished, and that's what happened."

Asked for his opinion on the penalty appeal which was rejected in the first minute when George Saville was upended in the box, Dallas referred to an infamous spot-kick that was given at the same end of the ground when Switzerland won last year's World Cup play-off in Belfast.

"The referee didn't give it - no shock, really, with refereeing decisions at Windsor again, but there's nothing we can do about it, we've got to move on and not dwell on that," said the 27-year-old, who was exceptional at the weekend.

"I enjoyed being back out there, we haven't been at Windsor for a long time.

"And certainly for myself, I've had a slow start to the season with injuries, I've only just come back, which is disappointing.

"I felt good, maybe tired a bit towards the end but I just enjoyed being out there. I didn't enjoy the result but it's a good 90 minutes for me and hopefully I can push on now."

Leeds team-mate Bailey Peacock-Farrell said his first competitive international was a bitter-sweet experience, especially as he was involved in a defensive mix-up for Bosnia's second goal, though post-match Craig Cathcart took responsibility for the error.

"The boys will gather round each other, not just Bailey, but we'll take care of him and he'll come on stronger from what was his competitive debut," said Dallas, impressed by another youngster, Jamal Lewis, who he linked up well with on the left flank.

"He's come in and done really well. I thought he was outstanding, both defensively and going forward - he's a strong, powerful runner, and we linked well at times.

"Hopefully that relationship can improve. There's a lot of competition in the squad so we've got to keep doing well in our own performances.

"Jamal is a cracking player, he's showed that at Norwich, playing week in, week out, and he can only get better."

Northern Ireland

Israel

Israel

International Friendly

Windsor Park, Tonight, 7.45pm

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Close eye: Stuart Dallas gets up close and personal with Bosnia’s Muhamed Besic