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Michael O’Neill asks Northern Ireland fans to follow coronavirus pandemic advice

By PA Sport Staff

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill urged fans to follow the government’s advice amid the battle against coronavirus.

On what would have been the eve of Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off semi-final against Bosnia, O’Neill wrote an open letter to supporters.

The boss expressed his and the squad’s disappointment at not playing, but took the opportunity to reinforce the government’s message.

“Football players, managers and coaches are not immune to the potential effects of this deadly virus,” O’Neill said in a statement.

“We have family members and friends who are classed as vulnerable. We care for them deeply and don’t want them to come to any harm.

“We can help keep our loved ones safe by working together in tackling the spread of Covid-19 and following the guidelines issued by the Government and the health authorities. It is in everyone’s best interests to do so.”

The manager expressed that he was sure the team would be able to count on the supporters of the Green And White Army as they look to qualify for the now-postponed tournament.

He added: “In the meantime, though, we all need each other’s help and support. Please keep in touch with friends and family by using remote technology such as phone, internet and social media.

“Stay home if you can. If you do have to go outside please ensure it is only to get food or that it’s for health reasons or essential work.

“If we all follow the rules then hopefully it won’t be too long before you, the GAWA, get to sing your hearts out again. I very much look forward to that day.”