O'Neill hits out at Lafferty

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill blasted Kyle Lafferty's indiscipline following their 4-2 defeat to Portugal.

Last Updated: 07/09/13 at 08:53 Post Comment

Michael O'Neill: Watched his side lose to Portugal

Michael O'Neill: Watched his side lose to Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo's second-half hat-trick denied Northern Ireland an unforgettable scalp at Windsor Park on a night that ended with home manager Michael O'Neill blasting Kyle Lafferty's indiscipline.

While Ronaldo underlined his status as one of the world's most consistent performers with two powerful headers and a late free-kick to seal a 4-2 win for Portugal, Palermo striker Lafferty had been on the field less than 15 minutes when he was sent off for a botched challenge on Joao Pereira.

Lafferty's was the third red card of a turbulent evening - with Helder Postiga and Chris Brunt already dismissed - and although it had the least influence on the final result, it left O'Neill seething.

Lafferty, a substitute on Friday night but so often a first-choice pick for his country, has struggled to make an impact under O'Neill due to injury and suspension but his latest indiscretion represents his lowest moment yet.

"Kyle's was a very reckless challenge, ridiculous to be fair," said O'Neill.

"I think his team-mates deserve better than that, I feel he let the players down.

"We talk about reliability. We don't have that many players and the ones who come, we need them to be reliable and to do what you ask them to do.

"You want players you can rely on."

Brunt received a more lenient hearing, despite his second yellow card coming when Northern Ireland were 2-1 ahead thanks to goals from Gareth McAuley and Jamie Ward.

O'Neill had asked the West Brom midfielder to operate out of position at left-back and allowed him some leeway as a result.

"It was a bit of a lifeline for them, Brunty's sending off and in the last 20 minutes they showed their class," he said.

"But I have sympathy for Chris, playing him at left-back isn't his natural position."

Ronaldo arrived in Belfast one behind the great Eusebio on Portugal's all-time scoring list, but left two clear of his illustrious forebear with 43 international goals.

It is a statistic that O'Neill feels does not flatter the Real Madrid man.

"It's the sign of a world-class player...one of the greatest you will see in this stadium," he said.

"You have to look at the key moments of the game and say Ronaldo (was the difference).

"When he had an opportunity to exploit space he took a real grasp of the game."

Ronaldo also earned the praise of his own coach, Paulo Bento, whose side lead World Cup qualifying Group F from Russia after their win.

"He is a different kind of player, we recognise that...everybody recognises that," he said.

"Of course we are happy and proud to have him with us and to help us in difficult situations.

"He scored three goals and he was crucial.

"I think he will be recognised as one of best players in Portugal's football history for sure."


Sky Bet Free Bet Club: £10 free bet - £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

ilarious, thanks for that. But if I may, I do suspect the reason of your partners' ire is not Tottenham, but most probably all the compusilve gambling :)

DannySmith
Backing Costa To Keep Banging 'Em In

T

wo police horses in a paddock. Horse 1: What's with the long face? Horse 2: I'm working St James Park this weekend.

hump3.
Pardew braced for protests

T

wo things. First, I can't stop reading your name as 'Dane Bowers'. Second, you used the words 'philosophy' and 'Redknapp' in the same sentence.

ajsr1982
Can United's Defence Handle Ulloa?

Footer 365

Premier League: Brendan Rodgers says Mario Balotelli is a 'good guy'

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers says he is enjoying working with Mario Balotelli.

Championship: Cardiff refused permission to speak to Leyton Orient's Russell Slade

Leyton Orient have refused Cardiff permission to speak to Russell Slade regarding their vacant manager’s role.

Wigan v Ipswich Live

Live coverage of Wigan v Ipswich from the Championship as well as news and latest build-up to the Ryder Cup.

Mail Box

Will Rodgers Finally Drop Gerrard?

The mailbox wants to know if Brendan Rodgers has the stones to drop Steven Gerrard. Plus, thoughts on Wayne Rooney's display, sitting down, and thanking United fans...

Clattenburg And Assistants Should Be Suspended

It's a Mailbox containing Manchester United fans taking defeat to Leicester pretty well, plus some long thoughts on Gerrard and Liverpool, plus Southampton congratulations...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property