O'Neill has yet to record a win after six matches in charge of the national side but there is little doubt that the 1-1 draw in
The visitor, 117th to
"I don't tend to get carried away and the main thing for me is that, regardless of the result, I was proud to stand there and be their manager," O'Neill said.
"That's because of what they gave to the cause and to each other. I'm hugely proud of the effort and what the players gave us
"I think we saw a huge amount of character in this team. It's a huge result."
The evening had started with a special presentation for Real Madrid star
The 27-year-old had numerous chances and saw plenty of the ball, but was ultimately shackled by a hard-working defence.
That O'Neill was able to leave the
"We're very disappointed only to draw but we recognised that we would have to defend for our lives and that certainly proved to be the case, especially in the second half," O'Neill added.
"Having gone that far it was a bit of a blow (to concede).
"But we got what we deserved, simple as that, and I'm immensely proud of the players. There was nothing more I could ask from first to last.
"I've told the players what I felt about their performance in the dressing room and that's all that matters to me.
"It's up to other people where they want to rank that in history or in terms of benchmarking that performance."
The result capped a bad week for
Bento's men now lie five points behind
"I'm disappointed with this result, especially after losing to
"We were very bad in the first half but in the second half I thought we did enough to win.
"We are not in a comfortable situation now. I was thinking of first place and now the goal is to go for second."
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