Neil Lennon was furious over the “disastrous” collapse of Northern Ireland throw away the lead and loss met Bulgaria 2-1 on Tuesday, ending their hopes of qualifying for the Worldcup.
After Saturday’s 2-0 backwards in Switzerland, Ian Baraclough’s side needed an almost miraculous run of results to achieve next year’s final, but fell to the first obstacle like a mess second-half show that a rising Bulgaria could come from behind and jump above them in qualifying Group C.
Lennon, who won 40 caps for the Green-White Army, inlaid in his country performance and told air sports he was left angry with their capitulation, with Todor Nedelev’s double the turns match around after Conor Washington’s opener before the break.
“Which second half was terrible,’ he said half, Bulgaria looked like the worst team in the group by far. we had three great chances and scored.
“It had two of can be three to… half- time, they came out for the second half and were completely passive. They invited Bulgaria to them, and the game management in the second half was pathetic.
“I see this Bulgaria as a third-rate quality side currently. They are not long in near where they are 10 of were 15 years ago, and certainly not in near the individual players of die time – the Berbatovs, the Petrovs. they have the game get away from them.
“It’s good to say it’s a… young team, but they have to win games. They are not going to learn playing like Which, of by losing games of.
“With 15 minutes to go, we were barely there” in their half, we have a corner, took a short one and immediately it is 50 yards back up the pitch kill any speed.
“They lost their way complete. There is no leadership, the gap between the back three, the midfield and the front two was everything over the place. We deserved to lose.”
colleague former Northern Ireland international Chris Brunt pointed to Bulgaria’s bright start to the second half, and the introduction met the break of Ilian Ilievi who would set up their equalizer goal, but said Baraclough’s men should have had the maturity to act with the inevitable of their hosts improvement from a slack opening period.
“It was like another team came out in the second half’, he said. ‘They… made changes die had a positive effect for them but you deal with Which.
“We spoke to half-time approximately how poor Bulgaria were defensive, you turn them round and then you make sure you defend your own half, but we didn’t get out of U.S half until we were 2-1 down.
“We were second for everyone ball – it was disappointing to see it. There were many of positives of the first half, you expect them to at least come out and hold it, the bare minimum. It was really very passive.
“You can sit off and sit down off, but you have to go to work at a given moment. It’s good to say that Bulgaria has the . can have ball 40 yards of ours goal, you can feel comfortable in that, but we never did.
“They watched like they went to cause us problems every time she the ball. We were good to do that before, when we’ve done it right. Let them get it wide, stop the cross, even if it comes in, we will deal with the.”
Baraclough complains over second-half spell
Manager Baraclough identified a period of 25 minutes after half-time when he felt his feelings side had failed wrestle back check of the game in Sofia the blame for their defeat, and refused to blame the defeat on fatigue last had of playing with 10 men in Switzerland on Saturday.
He told air sports: “You must win your one-on-one duels, you must win your little skirmishes. It started to go their way for a 20 minute spell and then they scored the goals when they got the upper hand on Which.
“We were sloppy with U.S play, we didn’t get ours first pass off, we didn’t get the ball in high and wide areas like we did first half, and it went a little ragged. Whether that’s a little of fatigue of fatigue, we did not succeed the game went very well for die spell and it is cost us.
“It was a game we dominated first half, we made one good few opportunities and did not grab them, apart from the goal. We came in Bee half-time and spoken over getting the intensity up again, getting ball moving, get a foothold in the game again.
“They will have a spell where they will come true” us, and we have to deal with it makes sure we are winning second balls, all the little skirmishes in the game, and for a 20 minute spell in the second half, that hasn’t happened again.”
Should Baraclough stay? on for Euro 2024?
Baraclough’s contract is: up with his country at the end of this qualifying period met won only four of are 18 games in indictment, although there are reportedly positive talks between the manager and the Irish Football Association over extension of his deal.
Brunt and Lennon both agreed met Northern Ireland final two games – Bee home to Lithuania and Italy next month – would prove decisive in how to be future pans out.
Brunt said: “Michael O’Neill, probably the most successful manager We have had in recently times, had a hard time start as well as his tenure. It’s easy to say he isn’t won a lot of games, but we are one small country. He is coming off the back of a really successful period, the players go to the wrong ends of their careers, and he needs to bring some younger guys in.
That’s something positive for us moving forward, so this one next two games, they are a dead rubber in terms of the group, but for he and his coaching staff, they will want to get two positives results until show the fans that they can do the job and it’s his job move forward. It is a result-based business, and if you don’t win games, it is difficult.”
two poor results in Windsor Park next month could leave Northern Ireland in a lower pot in the lottery for Euro 2024 qualifying Lennon added this should be the first priority for Baraclow doesn’t matter who has been chosen to lead the country there competition.
He said: “Italy coming to Belfast is taking care of itself from a psychological point of view of view, the players will raise them game. Lithuania is a poor team, Bee home, you want An win to go to Italy game. So there are two good games in different ways.”
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