Jonny Evans accepts there will be ‘no room for error’ when Northern Ireland embark on their Euro 2016 campaign on June 12.
Michael O’Neill’s side kick-off their tournament against Poland in Nice in 11 days’ time.
It will be a massive baptism of fire for Northern Ireland at the Allianz Riviera Stadium, especially as they will come up against prolific Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
Lewandowski – who has scored 34 goals for his country – is the star attraction in a Polish side that finished behind Germany in their qualifying group.
Germany are also in Northern Ireland’s Euros group, with Ukraine making up the four nations looking to progress to the knockout stages.
“They will be the big challenges you face as a player. Sometimes as a defender, playing against better players, you up your game and your concentration levels have to be raised,” said West Brom defender Evans.
“You try and get yourself into a mindset where you’re totally focused on the game.
“Everyone of us will have to do that if we want to be successful in this tournament.”
Northern Ireland’s defence will be tasked with shackling the lethal Lewandowski when they meet Poland on June 12.
And Evans is under no illusions as he prepares for the Group C opener in Nice.
“We’ve watched a few clips already. We also watch a lot of football, so we see him quite a bit on TV and so on,” added Evans.
He’s got speed, a good physique and technique. He’s got everything you’d want in a centre forward.
“He’s also playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world and banging in the goals for them, so he’s going to be a really hard player to play against.”