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

W

ell that really inspires me with confidence. No point in training, deciding on a coherent formation, or playing players in their best positions, let's just hope we get lucky.

mumbo_jimbo
Van Gaal: Luck is key

I

believe this is because for sepp Christmas is a 7 day feast finishing on the 25th

hiya
Blatter calls for early final

F

alcao really needs to shine now. Apparently according to the stats, he scores more when played up front alone. I wonder if Van Gaal will actually apply a formation to get the best out of him though.

anthracyte
Van Persie lay-off expected

Footer 365

Mark Hughes angered by officials in Stoke win over Hull

Mark Hughes was pleased with Stoke's 1-0 win over Hull but angered after the officials missed a challenge on Stephen Ireland.

Sean Dyche downbeat after Burnley lose to Swansea defeat at Turf Moor

Burnley boss Sean Dyche says his side must start turning performances into wins after losing 1-0 to Swansea at Turf Moor.

Jonas Gutierrez wants top-10 finish for Newcastle after return

Jonas Gutierrez has targeted a top-10 finish with Newcastle after returning to the squad for the win against Aston Villa.

Mail Box

Are Tottenham Right To Redevelop?

It's a really good Friday afternoon Mailbox, with thoughts on Spurs' ground development, the Europa league (leave it alone) and one man running for a very good cause...

Rodgers Is More Of A Paisley Than A Rafa

Most Liverpool fans in the Mailbox are claiming to be pleased to see the back of the Europa League. Plus merging the Europa and Champions League, and winter WC...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company