Nottingham Forest were beaten 3-0 by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in the Championship last night.
There are a number of Reds supporters who have been left baffled by Martin O’Neill’s verdict on his side’s first half performance against the Owls.
The Reds were convincingly beaten by Steve Bruce’s side, but O’Neill was not too hard on his team after the game.
The Northern Irishman felt his side performed well in the first half, before capitulating in the second. Marco Matias scored a brace after the break, with his goals coming either side of a fierce strike from George Boyd.
Speaking to the club’s official site, O’Neill said: “In the first half we were excellent and could have scored a couple of goals, but it always comes back to haunt you.
“Unfortunately, we showed a brittle side of us again and we lost, maybe it was a bit harsh but we have been beaten by three goals when it could have been so different.
“We have broken on them on a number of occasions and I thought we played some delightful football.”
O’Neill’s comments have been widely ridiculed by Reds supporters on social media, who feel his assessment of the first half was far from accurate.
Not sure excellent is quite the word Martin
— Matt Floyd (@MattFloyd79) April 10, 2019
At what point did I miss the ‘delightful football’ we played!!!?
— keeno2719 🏆 (@Keeno2719) April 10, 2019
“Excellent” was he watching a different game. We were average, maybe slightly better than them at best.
— Mark Shaw (@MarkShaw_Design) April 10, 2019
I guess we were excellent if the recent dreadful performances are being used as a benchmark
— Dusty (@psnffc1985) April 10, 2019
😂The word ‘delightful’ was used as well. Delightful??!!
— Debs (@deblee_smith) April 10, 2019
Excellent is rather a strong word for that performance, let’s be real should we!!
— Darren Grice (@grice_darren) April 10, 2019
The Reds were much-improved in the first half, but were only able to force Keiren Westwood into making two fairly routine saves. It still didn’t make for great viewing.
As soon as the Reds fell a goal behind courtesy of Luke Steele’s bizarre positioning for Matias’ 35-yard strike, they never looked like getting back into it. That will be the most concerning aspect of the performance for O’Neill.
The Reds could’ve reduced the deficit when Daryl Murphy came close with a header. But that wouldn’t have papered over what was a woeful performance.
In this case, the Reds are now realistically out of the running for the play-off places. O’Neill is now free to experiment with his squad ahead of next season. Whether or not he’ll be given the opportunity to continue his work over the summer remains to be seen.