Martin O’Neill is getting a lot of heat from the direction of Eamon Dunphy in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s humiliation at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland suffered a 5-1 annihilation at the hands of Denmark with thanks to a Christian Eriksen masterclass. The Spurs maestro bagged a stunning hat-trick amongst an unfortunate Cyrus Christie own goal and a late Nicklas Bendtner penalty which was the cherry on top for the Danes.
The most disappointing aspect of the Irish performance was the manner in which the team capitulated in the second half. Trailing 2-1 at half time, all hope had not been lost. However, the manager’s decision to replace David Meyler and Harry Arter, two defence minded midfielders, with the attacking duo of Wes Holohan and Aiden McGeady cost the team dearly as Denmark were afforded more space in the middle of the park and found it easier to punish the lacklustre Irish setup.
Those substitutions along with the general approach and style of play employed by Martin O’Neill throughout this qualification campaign has attracted heavy criticism, none more so than from the direction of Eamon Dunphy.
Speaking on RTÉ 2FM’s Game On this morning, the outspoken pundit slammed O’Neill’s ability as a manager in this day and age. While conceding that the Irish boss was once a top manager, he expressed his belief that the Derryman can no longer be considered to be a high level manager.
“Martin O’Neill was a very good manager. The question is, is he still a good manager? The evidence is that he isn’t.
“The two on one at the corner-kick (for Denmark’s first goal) was unforgivable.
“Taking off two holding players at half-time and put on Aiden McGeady and Wes Hoolahan… Why was David Meyler taken off?
“He’s making too many errors,” said Dunphy.
The RTÉ analyst went on to question the training and preparation methods of O’Neill as well as dropping his customary line about Wes Holohan not being given a fair shake.
“By all accounts, they don’t do much work on the training ground. That is not the way, for example, Michael O’Neill would have coached the Northern Ireland team.
“The one thing that has kept us in the ball game is the character and spirit of the players, going away to places like Vienna, Cardiff and Belgrade and getting results through sheer resilience and courage.”
“Wes has been left out wilfully, and stupidly all through the campaign and that tells you something about Martin O’Neill’s football values.
“If we had had him on the pitch when we were 1-0 up, we wouldn’t have lost control of the game as easily as we did because we would have had the ball more.
“You have to have the ball. Martin O’Neill clearly doesn’t see that as a priority and he’s wrong.”
The question now remains, will O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane be staying on following last night’s disastrous display? That is a matter to be discussed over the coming weeks with the FAI brass, no doubt.