John Cunningham has ordered his Dungannon Swifts players to put Wednesday night’s win over Linfield to one side ahead of this weekend’s match at Bangor.
League points are the priority for the new Dungannon boss, who insists there is still more to come from his side despite their stunning 3-0 victory at Windsor Park.
With a huge first-leg lead, some Swifts fans are already looking ahead to the quarter-finals but Cunningham is taking one game at a time and insists his focus is on Saturday’s league match against Marty Quinn’s side.
“I’m not going to even think about the second leg yet,” he said. “The important thing is Saturday’s game and we have to assess how the players recover from Wednesday night. When I took over I talked about three big tasks in the first week. We had Crusaders last weekend and then Linfield on Wednesday night. We have come though both of those and got good results, now we have Bangor this weekend and it’s another massive task.
“The most important thing now is to get points on the board and try to start moving in the right direction in terms of the league table.”
It was a 2-0 loss against Bangor which triggered Harry Fay’s departure earlier this month, but a new era has begun at Stangmore Park with Cunningham’s appointment.
A good start was vital given the high expectations in modern day football, where a team and its manager is rarely more than a few games from crisis. And while it may still be premature to acclaim Cunningham as the solution to all the club’s problems, the early impressions are certainly favourable.
After a credible draw against Crusaders and a thumping win over the Blues in his first two games, Cunningham believes confidence is returning at Stangmore Park.
“The players were suffering from a lack of confidence when I came in,” he added. “I’m trying to add a bit more professionalism and put my mark on how we could and should move forward.
“Confidence is a big part of football and I think in Linfield’s case it is just a blip. We met them at a good time and scored at important times.
“But for me the focus was on my team. I wanted to get something from the game to build our confidence and I think we’ve done that.”