Published Tuesday, 10 September 2013
A dejected Northern Ireland after losing 3-2 to Luxembourg. (© Pacemaker)
The team fell to a humiliating 3-2 defeat on Tuesday night against a country that only has three World Cup qualifying wins in its history - and none since 1972.
Martin Paterson gave Northern Ireland an early lead but the home side drew level before going ahead in the second half.
Gareth McAuley's 82nd-minute equaliser was rendered irrelevant when Mathias Janisch grabbed a late but deserved winner at the Stade Josy Barthel.
O'Neill apologised to the 1,200-strong contingent of fans who travelled to Luxembourg to see the turgid display, which follows on from a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture at Windsor Park last September.
There was not a single positive out of that game
He said: "I feel for the people who have travelled to watch that. It's not acceptable and not the level of performance I would expect from my team.
"The players are pretty clear on my feelings. As a manager and a group of players we owe the fans an apology. Our supporters deserve a hell of a lot better than they got back."
Hopes were high going into the match following last week's encouraging performance against Portugal and an impressive 1-0 win over Russia.
But for Northern Ireland, who were already out of the running for a World Cup place, this latest disappointment will surely feel like much of the good work has been undone.
"It was a really, really poor performance," O'Neill said. "The management of the game from start to finish was pathetic. We got what we deserved, Luxembourg were the better side.
"When we drew against Luxembourg and Azerbaijan I had a certain level of sympathy because I felt on the night we did a lot of positive things, but this was as poor a performance as I've ever been associated with.
"If we are at it all of the basic ingredients for playing football are there and we've shown what we're capable of. But if we're not we have no right to think we're better than Luxembourg or Azerbaijan or anyone out there. That has been proven."
The result leaves Northern Ireland with just six points from eight matches in Group F.
© UTV News