Neil Lennon heavily criticized Northern Ireland for their abysmal collapse after leading Bulgaria 2-1 in a World Cup qualifying match. After going down 2-0 to Switzerland earlier in the week, Northern Ireland needed nothing short of a miracle in the remaining qualification matches for the 2022 World Cup. They however fell short on their first hurdle after a shambolic second-half performance. Bulgaria has now leapfrogged them in Group C.

“That second half was abysmal,” former Northern Ireland player Neil Lennon said. “First half, Bulgaria looked like the worst team in the group by far. We had three great chances and then scored. It could have been two or three at half-time, they came out for the second half and were totally passive. They invited Bulgaria onto them, and the game management in the second half was pathetic.”

“I see this Bulgaria as a third-rate quality side at the moment. They’re nowhere near where they were 10 or 15 years ago, and certainly nowhere near the individual players of that time – the Berbatovs, the Petrovs. They’ve let the game get away from them.” he added. “It’s alright saying it’s a young team, but they’ve got to win games. They’re not going to learn by playing like that, or by losing games either. With 15 minutes to go, we had barely been in their half, we got a corner, took a short one, and immediately it’s 50 yards back up the pitch to kill any momentum. They lost their way completely. There’s no leadership, the gaps between the back three, the midfield, and the front two were all over the place. We deserved to lose.”

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