Ward and Washington set the tempo - O'Neill

Updated: 

Northern Ireland's Jamie Ward and Conor Washington drew individual praise from their manager Michael O'Neill after netting in the 2-0 World Cup Qualifying victory over Norway.

Nottingham Forest winger Ward put the hosts ahead two minutes into Sunday's contest at Windsor Park, before Washington's first competitive international goal all but wrapped up the victory 33 minutes in.

Norway threatened little as second-placed Northern Ireland moved on to 10 points in World Cup Qualifying Group C, and O'Neill was quick to express his delight at another comprehensive display from his side.

"I'm delighted. It was a fantastic performance from all 14 players who played tonight and I couldn't have asked for any more," he told Sky Sports.

"Both lads [up top] give you that energy at top end of the pitch.

"Conor goes to look for the ball and fight for the ball and Jamie does the same. When you have that energy the rest of the team follows on. 

"We spoke about using their movement to get between their two centre backs which we felt was their weakness."

One concern for Northern Ireland was an injury picked up early on in proceedings by veteran defender Gareth McAuley, but the West Brom centre-back battled on despite the knock.

"Norway played very directly, so we had to deal with a lot. We had a few bumps and bruises, but we fought and competed very well," O'Neill added.

"We didn't want to bring [McAuley] off because we would have had to change the system. He is a warrior.

"With 10 points we know a win at Azerbaijan will put us six points clear of them and now we're seven points clear of Norway. So we're looking at the Czech Republic and they are looking at us.

"We believe we can reach the World Cup. We have a great home record and the only team to score against us in the group are the world champions."