David Jeffrey last night joined the criticism of Northern Ireland’s performance against the Faroe Islands and then challenged his own team’s critics to point out exactly what was so bad about Linfield’s start to the season.
Nigel Worthington’s men were hammered for their display in the shambolic 1-1 draw in Toftir, with Kyle Lafferty’s equaliser rescuing the team from being completely embarrassed.
And Blues boss ‘DJ’ insists that similar complacency won’t ever dog his team.
“Nigel Worthington was 110 per cent right, the attitude of his players was shocking,” said Jeffrey.
“It wasn’t that they went out purposely to play badly — nobody does that — but I don’t think they prepared properly for the game and it showed that no matter who you are playing, even in a game against a team you are expected to beat, if you aren’t right mentally then you can end up with egg on your face.”
Many have said that a decent Irish League team could have beaten the Faroes — who are largely part-time — and the form that Linfield are in at present they could well have given Brian Kerr’s team a run for their money.
The Blues haven’t lost in 11 games and with four victories in their last five league outings and only one goal conceded, Jeffrey is so happy with the performances that the same 11 has started each of those handful of games.
There is no time for relaxation though, instead Jeffrey is challenging both himself and his players to get even better.
“Whilst it is gratifying to be in a run of good form, to be winning and playing so well, it never gets to the stage where this job is easy,” said Jeffrey, whose team will face Newry City at Windsor Park tonight.
“In fact, if anything it probably gets more difficult.
“We have to keep everyone competitive and when we’re playing well and everyone is meriting a continued run in the team, it gets harder to keep everyone happy.
“Everyone wants to play, that’s the nature of the beast, but those who aren’t in the team know that it will take an injury or a bad performance for them to get into the team.
“That’s the catch 22 situation. They are part of the club and they want us to do well, but they know that certain circumstances have to arise before they get back in.
“While there is never any complacency, because I won’t allow it, the players who are in the team know that they have to keep playing at the top of their game to stay in.”
Jeffrey’s defending champions have yet to hit the top of the league this season, but with two home games in the space of four days — tonight’s game is followed by a clash with Crusaders at Windsor Park on Monday — two wins would see them overtake Glentoran no matter how Scott Young’s team do at Cliftonville tomorrow.
“We are analysed more than any team in the country,” said Jeffrey.
“People say we had a bad start, well, we were immense in Europe, so that’s not a bad start. In the first league game against Ballymena we’d a perfectly good goal disallowed — which happens — and although we lost to Dungannon we were never dreadfully poor in those games.
“It is ridiculous to say we started badly, when you look at the form we’ve shown.”