Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Biting Back: Blues need to up their game and persevere

Determined: Linfield manager Warren Feeney
Determined: Linfield manager Warren Feeney

It wasn't the start new Linfield boss Warren Feeney had anticipated. His Blues side were outclassed by another team tipped to challenge for the title, Portadown. Meanwhile in the crowd was former Linfield boss David Jeffrey, looking slimmer and relaxed.

As well as some incredible highs during his 17 year Linfield reign, he could share a few stories of when a manager's plans don't always fall into place.

On Saturday it was Feeney who felt the frustration and embarrassment as he walked off the pitch encouraging his deflated players to applaud the travelling support.

Those fans could barely believe this was the same Linfield team that had beaten B36 Torshavn back to back and stunned AIK Solna earlier in Europe.

But just as Ports boss Ronnie McFall doesn't believe the 3-0 victory for his men makes them hot favourites for the league title, one defeat for Linfield doesn't signify that Feeney's side are not good enough for a title chase.

Last season the Blues picked up only one point out of 12 in a disastrous start and the team hit rock bottom of the league for the first time in Jeffrey's reign. A crisis... at least until they fought back to climb to the top of the table!

But with at least the first seven of Linfield's matches this season taking place away from Windsor Park because of redevelopment and Feeney sampling his first Big Two showdown against the Glens at The Oval tonight, the players must toughen up on the road very quickly.

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