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    Bet with SkyBet  World Cup. Click here to bet.

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


Bet with SkyBet  World Cup. Click here to bet.

Related News

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

Footer 365

Neymar and Jordi Alba will miss the bulk of the remainder of the season

Barcelona forward Neymar has been ruled out for up to a month due to a left foot injury.

Transfer news: Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino warns off Luke Shaw suitors

Mauricio Pochettino says in-demand defender Luke Shaw will be staying at Southampton.

Premier League: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers targets win at Norwich

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Sunderland's draw with Manchester City is a "warning sign" for his side.

Mail Box

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

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