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Determined Linfield boss Healy ready to come out fighting

By David Mason

Published 25/11/2016

Long way to go: David Healy is refusing to dwell on the Premiership standings in November
Long way to go: David Healy is refusing to dwell on the Premiership standings in November

Linfield boss David Healy aims to come out fighting following last week's defeat by Cliftonville.

The former Northern Ireland striker may have ended up with a bloody nose after his team suffered their first home league loss for 12 months, but he doesn't intend to brood over it.

Although the Blues now trail title holders Crusaders by an alarming seven points, Healy is demanding an instant response when he takes his boys down the M1 to face basement side Portadown at Shamrock Park tomorrow.

"There is no point mulling over the league table at this time of the season because there is still a long, long way to go," said Healy.

"When you lose a game, sometimes there is a lot of negative stuff comes out.

"Yes, I was disappointed. There wasn't a lot in the game, but we should have found a way (to win it) because I thought we were good enough and capable enough - but we didn't. The players just didn't do enough.

"The bottom line is, Crusaders are favourites to win the title for a reason - because they have been there and done it. When you are winning titles, it proves you have got the best squad. They have a strong mind-set, they know how to get over the line.

"That's something we are trying to crack. Good teams find a way to win and last week's game against Cliftonville was a good example. But we came up short. Personally, I'm determined to crack this 'getting over the line' business.

"Some people reckon it's more difficult to retain the title, I believe it's more difficult to regain it, especially if you haven't won it for four or five years. The longer this club goes without winning things, the harder it becomes.

"But we'll go again against Portadown.

"I'll be looking for a reaction. I still feel privileged to be managing this club - I'm loving every minute of it. It's an obsession with me to try and be successful.

"We've had a few setbacks, but I still firmly believe we are title contenders, along with the Cliftonvilles, Ballymenas and the rest."

Even though the ailing Ports are still in the deficit column in terms of points - they currently sit on minus one, the legacy of having 15 deducted for illegal payments and registration issues - Healy will be taking nothing for granted.

And, just to add a little bit of extra pressure, the Blues haven't won at the County Armagh venue since March 2014.

"It's never an easy place to go, we found it difficult down there last season," added Healy.

"They are fighting for the lives at the bottom of the table.

"The pitch isn't always great, but we'll be ready to go again. Hopefully, we'll again be backed by a huge Linfield support, which means so much to the players.

"Games between the clubs have been always tasty affairs down the years and I've no doubt this will be no different. So we are prepared for a tough test down at Shamrock Park."

Belfast Telegraph

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