Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Linfield manager Jeffrey demands focus

In the zone: Concentration is key for David Jeffrey

Linfield manager David Jeffrey has warned his players that they will need to keep their concentration for 90 minutes if they are to beat Coleraine at Windsor Park.

Linfield have won their last five games in a row, but have only kept two clean sheets in the league this season. Jeffrey believes his side can't afford to be anything but fully focused against a team of Coleraine's quality.

"If we play to the best of our ability then we can win the game, but we will be punished if we don't keep our concentration," said Jeffrey.

"I watched Coleraine beat Cliftonville 3-1 at Solitude a few weeks ago and they were immeasurably better than the Reds in every department. It was a stunning performance.

"They have Stephen Douglas, Howard Beverland and David Ogilby who are strong at the back, Stephen Lowry in midfield who makes them tick and up front you've Gary Browne, who is a fantastic talent.

"Everything goes through Lowry and Browne has tremendous ability."

After a shaky start in the league the Blues have beaten Warrenpoint Town, Ards, Ballymena United and Ballinamallard United in their last four league games. While those wins have come against four of the league's lesser lights, Jeffrey remains happy with his team's form.

"I'm pleased with both our performances and our results," he said.

"We've been playing some nice free flowing football in recent weeks. We're passing the ball well and scoring goals, but you've got to do the other part of the game as well.

"You've got to be able to defend and you've got to be able to concentrate and that's a key lesson that we've got to learn."

In recent weeks Jeffrey has fielded seven different players in defence, but he believes he is getting closer to finding a settled back four.

"At the start of the season we had to chop and change on a few occasions because of injuries and unavailability," he said.

"Recently we've been able to stick with the same back four, maybe only making one change at a time, which has been helpful.

"I'm particularly pleased with Niall Quinn. Matthew Clarke started the season like a house on fire, but his form dipped a little, and Niall came in and picked up the baton."

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