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Jeffrey’s team talk is written as Linfield aim to set the record straight

By Chris Holt

Revenge is a word that players and managers often shy away from when it comes to big games.

Some believe it adds pressure to their own players, while others feel it doesn’t need to be said — if you lost your last match, then it’s obvious you will want to regain the upper hand.

David Jeffrey is normally a manager who keeps his cards close to his chest and — though his post-match feelings are a lot more open — he refrains from emotive language in the run up to games.

However, with a Big Two clash on the horizon, while stopping short of using the word, it is clear that he has revenge in mind when sending his troops out to face Glentoran at the Oval tomorrow.

Two weeks ago in the Setanta Sports Cup, the Glens went to the home of their rivals and came away with a 4-1 victory that not even the most fervent Glenman would have contimplated.

It clearly hurt Jeffrey and his team, possibly due to the fact that they are so used to turning over their rivals.

Now the boss is challenging his men to cast the result into the annuls of history as a minor blip, and show the form of champions in tomorrow’s top of the table clash.

“Glentoran won 4-1 the last time out, I think Alan McDonald got it right when he said I don’t think there was three goals between us,” said Jeffrey.

“But when you look at the facts, Glentoran scored four goals and we scored one, end of story.

“Now that’s the message to the players. We’ve already been here, we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“Big Two games are Big Two games, I don’t really know what else to say about them.”

While people are always going to hark back to the last time the teams met, Jeffrey doesn’t believe that game in the cross broder competition will have any impact on this latest showdown.

A lot was made of the result, moreso because it is not often, in recent times anyway, that Glentoran manage to dominate their rivals so masterfully — in terms of the number of goals scored anyway.

A Glen Little inspired side beat the Blues 4-0 in 1995 at Windsor, a double from Brian Russell saw them lift the Gold Cup with a 4-2 win in 1999 and then in 2005 the Glens turned Linfield over 3-0 in an Irish Cup replay.

The fact that there was so long between each of those examples shows just how rare big victories for the east Belfast men in the fixture have been.

And if you are going to look back at success, then Linfield have every trump card going.

Over the past three years, their monoply on silverware in local football has been nothing short of astonishing.

So for Jeffrey, when referring to that 4-1 defeat at Windsor Park, he hammers home the old adage that one swallow does not make a summer.

The Blues boss knows that as far as Glentoran are concerned, the east Belfast men will not be happy with just the odd win here and there over their rivals. They want success, they want trophies; in short, they want what Linfield have.

“I was very impressed with Glentoran that night,” he admitted.

“I thought their senior players on the night did very well. I thought their junior players did well.

“4-1, while I was disappointed with that scoreline, I thought we actually played reasonably well, but that was it.

“Now, the reality is we are coming off the back of doing treble- doubles; treble-doubles, don’t anybody ever forget about that. Treble-doubles!

“We are in the middle of building a fourth side, we are very pleased with what we have done thus far.

“But if I was a Glentoran player; if I was a Colin Nixon, or a Paul Leeman or a Gary Hamilton or a Michael Halliday, I would be bursting my absolute eyestrings and that is natural.

“I remember being part of the Linfield team that lost seven times in a year by Glentoran. So I know how that feels.

“So it’s up to us. Can we continue to meet the challenge? We are doing it thus far and Glentoran will be looking to kick on.”

The start of this season saw Linfield written off, despite what they have achieved.

Many felt that their dominance was about to come to an end with an aging squad not likely to be able to carry on that amazing silver-laden journey. That Setanta Cup result added fuel to the fire, but have the players any reason to doubt themselves in the run up to their latest challenge.

“How many games have we played? Six games? Scored 17, conceded two and we are top of the league with a game in hand.

“Aye, we’ve a lot to doubt about,” he said, with just a touch of sarcasm.

Belfast Telegraph


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