Football

Neil Lennon Was Raging With Northern Ireland's Loss In Bulgaria

Neil Lennon Was Raging With Northern Ireland's Loss In Bulgaria

Northern Ireland's hopes of World Cup qualification are in tatters and, after a shock defeat to Bulgaria on Tuesday, Neil Lennon was left fuming on Sky's post-match coverage.

Lennon, whose international career with Northern Ireland was cut abruptly short in 2002, called the Northern Irish performance "abysmal" during a post-match rant on Sky Sports.

Neil Lennon slams Northern Ireland performance in Sofia

Northern Ireland faced a tough task at the outset of the World Cup qualification, with both Italy and Switzerland in their group. They would need to maximise their results against the weaker teams in the group, as well as claiming some big scalps, to have any hope of even a play-off place.

It hasn't panned out that way, however, and defeat to Bulgaria in Sofia was the final nail in the coffin for Ian Baraclough's men.

Neil Lennon appeared on Sky Sports as a pundit for Tuesday night's game, and he was impassioned after the game in slamming the Northern Ireland performance.

My emotion is one of anger. That was abysmal in the second half, absolutely abysmal.

In the first half, Bulgaria looked to me like the worst team in the group by far. Northern Ireland did three great chances and then they scored.

They could easily have been two- or three-up at half-time. They come out in the second half with no urgency, totally passive, sat off Bulgaria, invited them onto them, and I have to say that our game management in the second half was pathetic.

Fifteen minutes to go, we're 2-1 down, not really been in Bulgaria's half: we get a corner. All the boys come up for the corner, we take a short one, we lose the possession, the ball goes 50 yards up the pitch, kills the whole momentum.

It seemed to me they lost their way completely. No leadership.

All over the place second half, and we deserved to lose.

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After failing to qualify for three consecutive tournaments, it has been quite the comedown for Northern Ireland since the dizzying heights of the EURO 2016 knockout stages.

Defeat to lowly Bulgaria on Tuesday night was a real low point for the Northern Irish team, and they can surely have no complaints with Neil Lennon's comments.

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