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David Healy blasts Linfield after Crusaders inflict his first defeat

Linfield 0 - Crusaders 1

By David Mason

Linfield boss David Healy is ready to ditch his Mr Nice Guy image to get his team back on track. The Northern Ireland legend suffered his first defeat since replacing Warren Feeney in the Windsor Park dugout and pulled no punches in his post-match assessment.

Jordan Owens grabbed the only goal of the game to not only take Crusaders three points clear at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership table, but also rack up Stephen Baxter and co's 10th successive win at the international arena.

Fuming Healy roared: "The players need to understand what pulling on this shirt really means. There are not too many in the dressing room that have won cups or leagues.

"They need to start getting used to expectation levels at this club. I can see people getting frustrated, but they have to be big characters and deliver every Saturday.

"I let the players know my feelings. I am hurt after the result - I just hope they all are.

"What really annoyed me is the fact that Crusaders had to do just enough to win the game - and that's not on.

"We were written off even before the game and I can't have that. I can't have people doubting my players when we play the Crusaders and the Cliftonvilles in this league. I can't have people thinking we're soft centred. If it means me making changes I'll do that.

"The January transfer window will open and if I have to bring in the right players, I'll do that. I let the players know my feelings. They get paid good money by this football club - I expect more."

What left Healy even more frustrated was the fact it took the Blues 92 minutes to threaten the Crues goal when Aaron Burns' shot flicked off the top of the crossbar.

"Being a striker, I'm going to be critical of my forward players more than anyone else," he added.

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"I need them to be doing more. I need them to secure the ball further up the pitch, I need the wide players to make different movement if they are not getting it. It just didn't happen. We couldn't get the ball into areas to be a threat.

"It was disappointing. Crusaders have got players that can have a big effect in games. We didn't have enough to cope with that, which disappoints me greatly.

"I don't think they were outstanding, but they did enough to win the game. They had the know-how and the knowledge, they managed the game better. Their players knew how to win the game, but that comes with experience."

Goal hero Owens bagged his 12th of the season to win it with what was his fifth goal in as many appearances against the boys in blue.

"It was a great ball in from Jordan (Forsythe)," he said. "I thought Mark (Haughey) was getting to it but when it landed at my feet, I just focused on putting it in the net. That's what I'm there for."

LINFIELD: Ross Glendinning, Reece Glendinning, Haughey, Callacher, Quinn, Sproule (Millar, 65 mins), Mulgrew, Lowry (Ward, 43 mins), Burns, Waterworth, Bates (Salley, 77 mins). Unused subs: Deane, Clarke.

CRUSADERS: O'Neill. Burns, Magowan, Coates, McClean, Whyte (Caddell, 70 mins), Clarke, Snoddy, Forsythe, Heatley, Owens. Unused subs: McKibbin, Carvill, O'Flynn, O'Carroll.

Man of match: Billy Joe Burns

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

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