Cliftonville boss Lyttle keen for Winchester to lighten up
Cliftonville 2 Ballymena United 0
Gerard Lyttle has told Cliftonville midfielder Jude Winchester to "wise up" and stop being so harsh on himself.
The 23-year-old registered his first Danske Bank Premiership goal of the season as the Reds battled to victory over a spirited Ballymena United at Solitude on Saturday.
Winchester's 54th-minute finish doubled the hosts' advantage after James Knowles had converted a first-half penalty and the former Kilmarnock starlet went close to adding to his personal tally shortly afterwards with a chance that he poked just wide of Ross Glendinning's goal.
Boss Lyttle was naturally pleased with the three points and clean sheet in a ninth consecutive home win, but urged Winchester to start accentuating the positives of his own performances.
"Jude's his own biggest and most harsh critic," said Lyttle.
"He beats himself up over every little thing, but sometimes you just want to tell him to wise up!
"I'm delighted for him to have scored because it's something he wants to do more. He's been working hard all season but the goals just haven't come for him and, believe me, there's nobody more frustrated about that than Jude himself. He's been doing well for the team, though, and that's the main thing."
Lyttle joined counterpart David Jeffrey in hailing Ballymena's Allan Jenkins for the 'Paolo di Canio moment' that saw him opt against shooting when he spotted Reds keeper Peter Burke down injured, with Jeffrey also effusive in his praise for Cliftonville captain Jason McGuinness after the game.
"Never in all my years as a manager can I remember an opposition player coming up to me to praise one of my players for how he went about his business," explained the Sky Blues supremo.
"Young Adam McCracken is just 18 years of age and he's come in for his debut at a tough venue like this. I thought he did well but it says a lot about big McGuinness that he would single him out like that.
"The whole match was played in a great spirit and that summed it up."
Cliftonville: Burke, Ives, Bonner, McGuinness, Knowles, McDaid, Garrett, Hughes, Harkin, Winchester, Cosgrove. Subs: Curran, M Donnelly (Winchester, 82 mins), Catney (Harkin, 45 mins), Lavery (Hughes, 71 mins), A Donnelly.
Ballymena: Glendinning, T Kane, Owens, Jenkins, McCloskey, Faulkner, Friel, Ervin, Millar, Loughran, McCracken. Subs: Lowry (Faulkner, 83 mins), McVey, Mackle (Friel, 80 mins), McCaffrey (McCloskey, 41 mins), McCauley.
Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)
Man of the match: Peter Burke
Match rating: 7/10