Coach Michael O'Neill took the blame for a change in Northern Ireland's system that rendered them ineffective in the 0-0 draw versus Cyprus.
The visitors were poor in Nicosia, with Martin Paterson's early close-ranger header their only real chance against an otherwise untroubled home side.
O'Neill was without several regular starters on Wednesday, including Jonny Evans, Aaron Hughes, Chris Baird and Corry Evans - but it was the absence of Lee Hodson that was most keenly felt.
The Watford youngster has played at right wing-back for his country as O'Neill has sought to utilise a 3-5-2 formation, but the long list of unavailable players led to a new system that failed to produce the goods against a nation ranked 122nd in the world.
"We've tried to build a system to play with 3-5-2," O'Neill told BBC Sport after seeing his side finish the game with 10 men following Gareth McAuley's late dismissal.
"We weren't able to do that in this game because we didn't have anyone available to play on the right-hand side of the pitch, in that wing-back role, so the system that we played tonight, particularly away from home, I wouldn't play again.
"We tried to play very offensive with the two attacking midfield players and the three front players and it probably isn't right for us, particularly away from home."
The match marked a 10th consecutive away friendly without a goal for Northern Ireland, a run stretching back to 2006.
It is a barren spell that rarely looked like coming to an end in the Cypriot capital, and O'Neill was less than impressed with the quality on show, though he had no complaints about his team's spirit.
"I felt we started not too bad, created a couple of good opportunities," he added. "But we deteriorated a bit after that, we gave possession of the ball away too easily and we invited pressure because of that.
"I thought second half we were better - not in any great way or fashion - we created a couple of half chances and we maybe could have done better.
"And then obviously we have to play the game with 10 men. But the spirit and the work rate was good, we have to commend the players on that.
"The fact that we got the 17 payers on the pitch and we got people game time was important, but the actual level of performance was disappointing."
Northern Ireland face Uruguay in May and Chile in June before getting their UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign under with a trip to Hungary in September.
|Philadelphia Union 3 Columbus Crew 0: Sapong leads hosts to win|
|Barcelona 1 Manchester United 0: PSG target Neymar inspires ICC win|
|Marotta: Juventus have made Keita offer, open to Matuidi|
|Conte: I would pick Kane if I had to sign a striker|
|Mourinho hints Ibrahimovic could make Man United return|
|Patrick Kluivert´s nine-year-old son signs Nike deal|
|Fassone: Bayern´s Sanches too expensive for Milan|
|Champions League Review: Van de Beek earns Ajax away goal in Nice tie|
|Celtic 0 Rosenborg 0: Unconvincing hosts fortunate to escape with draw|
|Keeping players against their will is counterproductive - Marotta explains Bonucci exit|
|Serie A fixtures: Potential for AC Milan nightmare October as Bonucci faces pre-Halloween Juve reuni|
|Serie A fixtures: Juventus to face gruelling run-in|
|Serie A fixtures: Inter meet AC Milan in October, Derby d´Italia set for December|
|Mourinho: I had to beg Real Madrid to let me go|
|Chelsea captain Cahill: Terry will be first person I call|
|Serie A fixtures: Juventus face Cagliari in opening round|
|Sarr chooses Rennes over Barcelona|
|Terim leaves Turkey role after brawl|
|Bacca left out of Milan squad amid Marseille rumours|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic bang on the money in latest Instagram post|
|Barkley will 100 per cent leave Everton - Koeman|
|City can challenge Madrid – Sane|
|Fabinho and Lemar staying at Monaco - Vasilyev|
|Mbappe in talks over new Monaco deal|
|Toure urges Mendy to adapt quickly|
|Inter can forget about Vidal - Ancelotti|
|Perisic to Man Utd dependent on Inter finding valid alternative - Spalletti|
|Guardiola refuses to rule out City rivalling Madrid in Mbappe pursuit|
|Bayern Munich as big if not bigger than Real Madrid - James Rodriguez|
|Real Madrid friends reunited: Zinedine Zidane, Raul and David Beckham meet in LA|
|Lure of Pep made it easy for Danilo to choose Man City over Chelsea|
|Man Utd boss Mourinho says ´dangerous´ fees a threat to football|
|Victory star Rojas set to return to Europe|
|Beckham happy for Madrid coach Zidane|
|Toluca 0 Atletico Madrid 0: LaLiga giants held to dour draw|
|Tottenham 2 Roma 3: Kolarov makes debut in thriller|
|Premier League spending unsustainable – Levy|
|Mourinho: I miss Rooney a lot|
|Instagram post was Pique´s ´gut feeling´ over Neymar future|
|Emery unmoved when quizzed on PSG´s pursuit of Neymar|
|Real Madrid´s attack doesn´t need Mbappe to wreak havoc, claims Casemiro|
|Balotelli fitter than last season, warns Dante|
|Mata and Herrera provide Manchester United injury boost|
|Orlando capture Dwyer in record swoop|
|Bardsley bolsters Burnley backline options|
|Ibrahimovic still a leader at Old Trafford – Pogba|
|Thiago Maia joins Brazilian influx at Lille|
|WATCH: Neymar´s aim defeats Messi and Suarez|
|Hart can help West Ham reach top eight – Hislop|
|Ajax´s Nouri out of intensive care and breathing unaided|
|Mourinho wants a midfielder and winger at Man Utd|
|Mourinho slams UEFA over Bailly ban|
|Payet was a flawed individual – Sullivan|
|Conte pleased with Morata cameo|
|Kaka uncertain of Orlando future as he targets MLS play-offs|
|Cassano should be applauded, says Prandelli|
|Sanches seeking to swap Munich for Milan|
|Brown loaned to Brighton after signing Chelsea contract|
|VAR would have ruled out ´Hand of God´ goal, Maradona admits|
|Bordeaux abandon Wellington Silva transfer|
|Kaka backs Bonucci to help Milan rediscover glory days|
|Chelsea 2 Bayern Munich 3: Muller at the double as Bayern bounce back|
|Injured Michu confirms retirement|
|Neymar will make right decision amid PSG links - Kaka|
|Wagner backs Liverpool to win the league|
|Monaco deny world-record €180m Real Madrid deal for Mbappe – report|
|Higuain: I need to score more in Europe|
|Real Madrid ´would be alright´ but Dolberg in no rush to leave Ajax|
|Mane, Ings back in full Liverpool training|
|Mahrez would do great things at Roma – Gonalons|
|Real Madrid want a top-class French striker, Lyon president claims|
|Bernat has surgery on ankle ligament tear|
|Higuain wants Dybala at Juventus but ´can´t point a gun at his head´|
|I want more trophies – Ronaldo confirms Real Madrid stay|
|Aulas: PSG signing Neymar for record fee is risky|
|Klopp unfazed by Mourinho, Man United|
|WATCH: Mourinho crashes Lingard interview|
|Lukaku aiming to emulate Ronaldo at Man United|