Northern Ireland: Michael O'Neill has given us belief - Jonny Evans

Northern Ireland celebrate Jonny Evans' goal
Jonny Evans scored Northern Ireland's second goal in Monday's 3-2 friendly win over the Czech Republic in Prague

Jonny Evans has praised manager Michael O'Neill's influence after Northern Ireland beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in Monday's friendly in Prague.

Northern Ireland held on to win in Prague after two efforts from Paddy McNair and an Evans goal gave Northern Ireland a 3-0 lead at half-time.

"Michael has got us playing in a great shape with flexibility in our system," said Leicester City defender Evans.

"It shows we can put in great performances and beat anyone."

The 31-year-old added: "I have played for Northern Ireland for a lot of years now and it's not often that we have come in at half-time 3-0 up, especially against a big team like the Czech Republic.

"We probably could have had one or two more, so it was a fantastic performance and Michael is excited with the team.

"I think we have been putting in performances like that over the last couple of years."

Winning feeling is important

Northern Ireland players celebrate
The victory in Prague was Northern Ireland's first in an away friendly for 13 years

Northern Ireland bounced back after a late defeat by the Netherlands in Euro 2020 qualifying and Evans feels that his side responded well in Prague.

"We put ourselves in a great position going into the second half," said Evans.

"Although they got two goals back we still felt comfortable towards the end.

"We put a lot into the game the other night (against the Netherlands) and the amount of pressing we were doing in the first half is hard to sustain for the whole 90 minutes.

"They made four or five substitutions at half-time and we knew that they would come out fast.

"We could tell that they were going to be a threat and luckily we held out.

"You can retreat and fatigue set in against us, it's human nature, but the most pleasing thing is that we held on and got the win.

"It's important to get that winning feeling in the group."

Paddy McNair of Northern Ireland
Paddy McNair has scored three goals in his last four Northern Ireland appearances

Northern Ireland's slim chances of automatically qualifying for Euro 2020 took a blow after a late defeat in Rotterdam on Thursday night, although qualifying through the play-offs is still a possibility.

"Playing against teams like the Netherlands and Germany, when you lose those games sometimes it is easy to lose sight of what you are good at and lose that belief," added Evans.

"It's important that we saw that result out tonight and it makes us realise that we are a very good team.

"We have a lot of players playing in the Championship, in League One and in Scotland, compared to players who are playing Champions League football, but we really come together as a team.

"We're a really tight unit and we work hard for each other."

The Netherlands travel to Belfast next month and Evans feels playing at home could be the difference for Northern Ireland.

"We were so disappointed with how the game went the other night, and we'll try and put in a similar performance to when we faced the Germans at home," he added.

"We can really get after them and it's totally different playing at Windsor Park, so hopefully we can get an upset."