Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Blues show the character of champions

LINFIELD striker Peter Thompson felt he and his team-mates showed great character to claim all three points at a rain-swept Institute on Saturday.

The Northern Ireland international played his part in the hard-fought win at Drumahoe but he also admitted the players knew they weren't going to have everything their own way.

"To be honest I think we probably made it that bit harder for ourselves because we didn't take our chances in the first half, but in the second half you have to give Institute a lot of credit, because they never gave up," said Thompson.

"If we had have scored a second goal then things probably would have been a lot easier for us, but they kept battling and battling right to the end and we were glad to hear the referee blow the final whistle.

"Because of the terrible weather conditions, it wasn't a day for football, it was a day to get all three points and we did that so we are pleased."

The talented striker, who has netted 14 times already this season, played his part in Glenn Ferguson's 497th career goal.

"It was a great finish by Spike, I put a bit of pressure on their keeper and he was in the right place at the right time for us as the ball dropped to him, and we are all glad he was there to finish it off.

"He's a quality player, but we have a number of quality players and everyone in the squad knows that if they don't work hard then there is always someone waiting in the wings to come in for you.

"Everyone wants to be playing, but we have such a big squad that can't always happen, If you don't play well then you won't be in the team, it's as simple as that, but you expect that at Linfield.

"If you look at our bench on Saturday we had Mark Dickson, Thomas Stewart, Jim Ervin, Kris Lindsay and Tim McCann. They are all quality players and our reserve team is also full of quality players, so everyone knows that it's a battle to keep your place."

With both Glentoran and Cliftonville also winning on Saturday, the 24-year-old striker admitted it was important the Blues picked up maximum points to maintain their lead at the top.

"It's all about keeping winning at this stage of the season, because we are coming up to an important point of the season.

"We have a number of big games in December, but that is what you want as a player, to play in big matches and they are all important as well," added Thompson.

As for Institute's assistant manager John Gregg, he was pleased with another battling display against one of the big boys, but admitted he and boss Liam Beckett want to start seeing points on the board.

"Obviously we can take positives from the game, as we did at Cliftonville last weekend, but people have to remember we have lost our last two matches and results didn't go our way at the weekend.

"Nevertheless, our players have set themselves that standard now, which they need to maintain against the likes of Larne, Armagh, Glenavon and everyone, not just the likes of Cliftonville, Glentoran and Linfield."

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