Belfast Telegraph

Linfield committed football suicide at Rovers: Jeffrey

By Stuart McKinley

David Jeffrey admitted that Linfield have only themselves to blame for the uphill task that faces them in the second leg of the Setanta Sports Cup quarter-finals.


The Blues are facing a mission impossible when they meet Shamrock Rovers at Windsor Park next Monday evening having lost 4-1 in the first leg.

Jeffrey and his players were left thinking what might have been after a great strike form Billy Joe Burns got them back into the game at 2-1, with the Blues the better team at the time.

Two second-half goals from Rovers and then Brian McCaul’s failure to score from the penalty spot — Ryan Henderson fluffed the rebound too — all add up to the tie being one-sided rather than in the balance ahead of the return meeting.

“ I think we committed football suicide,” said Jeffrey.

“In the first half we knew that Rovers would come out of the blocks quickly.

“We have had them watched a few times and they have some very good technical players.

“I was really disappointed with our ball retention in the first half. We were giving it away too cheaply and we addressed that at half time.

“We came out second half and I thought we were much brighter. Michael Carvill had a great effort which dipped late and then we had a fantastic goal by Billy Joe Burns. I really thought at that stage that we could get a draw out of it.

“Then we lost two bad defensive goals and to cap it off we missed a penalty along with the rebound.”

With the league title slipping away from Linfield and their interest in the Irish Cup over Jeffrey had placed great importance on the cross-border competition, which makes the disappointment of defeat even greater.

“ Of course we are all really disappointed and frustrated at the result,” he said.

“It will be a massive task now to progress.

“When Coleraine won down here I think a lot of people thought that Rovers would not get back into it given where they are in their season, but they are a very good side and you have to give credit where it is due.

“Coming to Windsor Park next week they will feel that they can score. We are going to have to be much sharper in front of goal and do massively better defensively.”

Glentoran also have an impossible task after losing 5-0 away to Sligo Rovers, with the Irish League’s other four representatives.

Cliftonville, Coleraine and Portadown fell at the first hurdle while holders Crusaders lost to Cork City in round two.

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