Cliftonville 2-0 Ards: Gerrard Lyttle unhappy despite straightforward win
Gerard Lyttle admits he should be content with three points, two goals and a clean sheet - but insists he'll always strive for perfection.
His Cliftonville side made it six wins from their last seven games as goals in either half from Daniel Hughes and Jason McGuinness saw off Ards at Solitude.
Despite the Reds staying in touch with the chasing pack at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, Lyttle - who watched the final match of his three-game touchline ban from the stands - says the performance was not what he or any of his players had hoped for.
"Without wanting to be disrespectful to Ards, we're not entirely happy with how we did," he said.
"There's just a sense among everyone that we didn't really kick on the way we wanted - to the point where you'd think we'd lost.
"We have been in good form recently and, except for the last 25 minutes against Crusaders (when Cliftonville lost from 3-0 up), we've been very pleased with how the last month or so has gone. We've ironed out some problems - not entirely - and we're still trying to get where we want to be, but results have been good.
"We still want to get better, though. There were things we could have done to make things much more comfortable against Ards but maybe that's being hyper-critical."
Hughes opened the scoring with a 31st minute blast after a sumptuous controlling touch from Jude Winchester helped open up some space inside the box.
With momentum beginning to swing Ards' way as the second-half progressed, skipper McGuinness' header from a Ruairi Harkin corner settled home jitters and the same player would preserve Cliftonville's clean sheet with a goal-line clearance to thwart Joe McKinney.
"I can't fault the team," said Ards boss Niall Currie. "I felt like we got every last drop out of them and the supporters obviously appreciated it because they applauded them off at the end.
"We created as many opportunities as Cliftonville did, the difference was they took some of theirs, but I told the players after the game that we've nothing to be down-hearted about."
Cliftonville: Burke, McGovern, Ives, McGuinness, Knowles, M Donnelly, Hughes, Harkin, Winchester, J Donnelly, Cosgrove. Subs: Bonner, Curran (for Hughes, 90 mins), McDaid (for Winchester, 83 mins), Garrett (for M Donnelly, 65 mins), G Donnelly.
Ards: Hogg, Brennan, Friars, Taylor, McCullough, Keke, McAllister, McKinney, McMillen, Ruddy, Douglas. Subs: Byers, McComb (for Keke, 57 mins), Rea, Arthurs (for Douglas, 50 mins), Tommons (for McAllister, 88 mins).
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)
Man of the match: Jason McGuinness
Match rating: 7/10