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.
|Adelaide United 5 Newcastle Jets 2: Five-star Reds end winless streak|
|Goals, nutmegs and cheers - Usain Bolt impresses in Borussia Dortmund training|
|De Bruyne: Don´t compare me to Messi and Ronaldo|
|Real Madrid can win the Champions League, Roberto Carlos claims|
|Martinez determined to earn World Cup place|
|Arthur ´counting the days´ to Barcelona switch|
|English football must address racism, says Southgate|
|Alisson can be world´s best – Taffarel|
|Ter Stegen dismisses ´Messi with gloves´ label|
|Buffon: Messi more complete than Ronaldo|
|Neymar is irreplaceable, says Tite|
|Conti: Milan much better thanks to Gattuso|
|Show must go on in Hollywood! - Pogba and Mkhitaryan say Ibrahimovic goodbyes|
|Arthur: I´ll find out if Messi is from this planet|
|Barcelona better than Real Madrid even if Neymar signs - Iniesta|
|I haven´t booked a holiday yet - Leno hoping for World Cup call|
|I may be 40 but I´m still Juve´s number one – Buffon bullish over Italy return|
|Italy coach Di Biagio dismisses Raiola rage over Balotelli snub|
|Lopetegui not ruling out Martinez World Cup chances|
|Spain defender Ramos targeting Casillas caps record|
|Pogba gets no special treatment from Deschamps|
|Ibrahimovic to LA Galaxy? Beckham, Drogba, Pirlo and the other stars to try MLS|
|Wilshere out for England with Pickford to face Netherlands|
|Southgate rejects England safety concerns over World Cup|
|Great things come to an end - Ibrahimovic confirms Man Utd departure|
|This is Messi´s team - Sampaoli puts faith in Barcelona superstar|
|Juventus to play in MLS All-Star Game|
|Low confirms Can will miss Spain game|
|Ibrahimovic released by Manchester United|
|Santos not interested in Ronaldo to China links|
|WATCH: Messi scores superb solo strike in Argentina training|
|Koeman names Van Dijk new Netherlands captain|
|Dybala and Icardi´s World Cup hopes doused by Sampaoli|
|I almost s*** myself - Pique on Keane rant|
|UEFA order PSG to close Auteuil stand|
|Brilliant Bale basks in Wales record|
|Neuer needs to play to make Germany´s World Cup squad – Low|
|China 0 Wales 6: Record-breaking Bale leads demolition job in perfect start for Giggs|
|Bale becomes Wales´ record goalscorer with China hat-trick|
|The ´reality for people with a brain´ is Manchester United are in transition, Mourinho claims|
|West Ham ban disruptive fans for life after Burnley chaos|
|Iniesta hints at post-World Cup international retirement|
|All we do is talk s*** - Pique goads Madrid stars over WhatsApp|
|Euro 2016 humiliation helped England, claims Dele Alli|
|Iniesta confident of two more years in Barcelona starting XI|
|Kane probably the best striker in the world - Maguire|
|Wenger told Wilshere he could leave Arsenal|
|If you play for Atletico, you must be committed – Koke responds to Griezmann speculation|
|Giggs: Bale will feature for Wales in China Cup|
|Maradona: Messi doesn´t have to prove himself by winning World Cup|
|Cristiano Ronaldo hasn´t asked to leave Real Madrid amid China links – Perez|
|Manchester United apply for professional women´s team|
|Bolt a fan of Ronaldo, but compares his talent to Messi´s|
|Heynckes definitely leaving at end of season, claims Ze Roberto|
|Shaw issue a distraction from Manchester United´s failures, says Neville|
|Hamsik withdraws from Slovakia squad|
|Griezmann backs Pogba to prove doubters wrong for France|
|Sanchez ´expected something better´ from Manchester United move|
|Javi Martinez in the dark over Spain squad omission|
|Giggs feeling the tension ahead of Wales debut|
|Juventus confirm Alex Sandro thigh injury|
|Hart praises ´loyal guy´ Southgate amid World Cup axe fears|
|I miss Morata, says recalled Costa|
|I can improve even more at Manchester City - Bernardo Silva|
|Neymar will be fit for the World Cup, insists Ronaldo|
|Costa thinks Griezmann will stay at Atletico Madrid|
|Ferdinand worried by England´s World Cup striker options|
|Stam leaves Reading after wretched run|
|Neymar is great, we´ll see if he joins Real Madrid – Asensio|
|Maguire tips ´nightmare´ Vardy to replace injured Kane|
|Malcom ready to leave Bordeaux and chase Bayern ´dream´|
|Asensio insists Zidane was not unfair to him|
|Griezmann wants future resolved before World Cup|
|Nocerino wants Conte return after Italy´s World Cup ´disaster´|
|Iconic 2002 World Cup haircut was media distraction, reveals Ronaldo|
|Wright: Difficult for Liverpool sensation Salah to resist Real Madrid|
|Yaya Toure yet to report for international duty, confirm Ivory Coast|
|Morrison confirms plans to play for Jamaica|