As Ulster suffered their fourth defeat in five games, Stephen Ferris reflected on what is going wrong for them at the moment.
Despite leading for majority of the game against rivals Munster, an 80th minute Ben Healy try lead them to another loss in a big game.
Despite such a promising start to the season, it has all gone wrong for Ulster at a vital time. Attacking rugby, great tries, a strong defence and an organised set-piece made fans believe their long trophy drought could be coming to and end.
However, ever since a disappointing defeat to Leinster in November, it has all gone downhill.
Stephen Ferris Reflects On Ulster Struggles
To lose the way Ulster did on Sunday was the last way they needed to start 2023. Dan McFarland made his feelings quite clear after the game, which divided opinion among fans.
Not only did he take issue with the result against Munster but also their previous losses, labelling his side soft.
"I told them last week. We have to toughen up there. On this occasion, it is an element but the game Is lost when we don’t take those chances. It was an issue last year, I don’t mind admitting it.
I’m struggling to find a solution. Clermont, Sharks, Leicester a year before that: we don’t struggle when we’re one score ahead, Edinburgh last season. But it’s (when they are) two scores. We’re soft in a rugby sense, not mental and physical."
Speaking to Balls in partnership with Ladbrokes.com, Stephen Ferris gave his thoughts on what's going wrong for Ulster.
If you look at Ulster at the minute, they are actually sitting okay in the table. actually sitting okay on the table, you know, I think it's third position, haven't lost too many games, but that's all because they had a flying start, they did very, very well in the early part of the season and now they've had a bit of a roadblock.
Very interesting comments from Dan McFarland post-match about his team's loss to Munster. Something specific he said in the interview was "we", so not "they". I think he means we as a team, as coaches, as physios. It comes across the way we played that we didn't care because of the way we played.
Looking as that as a player, it's only the 15-23 guys on the pitch. I can read between the lines pretty easily and I think a lot of Ulster fans have. It doesn't seem like a happy camp.
Looking back at Alex Ferguson's quotes, he said don't point the finger at the players, take responsibility and deal with it in house. But at the same time, I sort of like what he did, because some of the players do need a kick up the backside."
Unfortunately for Ulster, they don't have time to reflect on a disappointing festive period, with crucial games coming up.
They face an in form Benetton side this weekend, before crucial Champions Cup games against Sale Sharks and La Rochelle.
Stephen Ferris believes Dan McFarland's comments could go one of two ways depending on results.
If they lose at home to Benetton, than all of a sudden the pressure mounts again and those comments that are made after the Munster match, he might make again.
It's one of those one where it's a must win this weekend. He has to make sure the players get back on side and perform a little bit better. I think saying things like that can sometimes send a shot across the players and maybe it's a bit of a wake up call.
Something about Dan is he's not going to say something just for the sake of it. He's a very calculated guy, he thinks very thoroughly about what he's going to say.