Martin O’Neill could have put it an awful lot more strongly. Instead, in his post-match e-mail to Monsieur Salut, he chooses a mild form of rebuke for his players after an embarrassing capitulation to Bolton Wanderers – whose fans, mocked for their no-show at the Reebok, can also chortle at the size of the Stadium of Light attendance, just 17,500 – and rues a “bitterly disappointing” and meek end to those fanciful 40th anniversary dreams …
It’s bitterly disappointing. We’ve gone out of a competition we did so well in last season very meekly.
After the performance on Saturday it’s disappointing that we can’t put two consecutive performances like that together.
We didn’t do enough in the game.
We need to have consistency; otherwise we’re going to go nowhere.
Today we needed to put another performance together; that’s’ the sign of a good team but we we were unable to do that.
We were forced into making changes with [Steven] Fletcher out due to illness, but that shouldn’t matter – that was as strong a side as we could put out.
Last season we had a good run in the competition and that run gave us the momentum to keep going in the league too.
Now all the effort that was put into the second half at Bolton means nothing after we’ve gone out of the competition meekly.
We had a couple off opportunities that we could have done better with but it wasn’t enough in the end.
All the best,