Gutted Feeney demands response
Warren Feeney has admitted his players let the club down on Saturday but he expects Linfield to rediscover that winning feeling at home to Warrenpoint Town on Saturday.
The Blues boss avoided a post match grilling from the press after his side crashed to a 3-0 defeat to Crusaders, but only because he had to dash to Dublin to catch a flight to Wales where his Uefa Pro Licence course was coming to a conclusion.
Before he left the north-Belfast venue the former Northern Ireland international made sure he told his players exactly what he thought of the performance against the champions.
The Blues were second best by a long shot and perhaps it was the wake-up call they needed to make sure they remain serious title challenges.
Feeney's elation at winning the August Manager of the Month award didn't last long and a few harsh words were spoken in the visitors' dressing room at Seaview.
"I told the boys what I thought of the performance after the game and they let the club down, but we've got to remember we are two points clear at the top of the table and we have to learn from it and keep going," said Feeney. "I've told them the better players perform week in week out and they need to show that.
"Nothing is given to you in this game, you have to work hard for it. You've just got to keep winning.
"Crusaders deserved the victory. They are difficult to beat on their pitch, which they are used to playing on, but I've no complaints about the result.
"We didn't use the ball well enough and it was a very disappointing result, but we cannot lose much sleep over it as it's gone now and we still have a lot to look forward to.
"Six wins out of our opening seven league matches is a fantastic start and gives us something to build on. One defeat should not mask the fact the boys have done well up to the Seaview game.
"Sometimes losing a game can be the making of a team and you certainly learn a lot more from defeats.
"Although we were winning matches we never believed we were the finished article and knew we had to get stronger.
"The boys are hurting and they have been brought down to earth by this defeat, but they will show their character and hit back."
Linfield will be expected to roll over basement battlers Warrenpoint Town at Windsor Park on Saturday, but they will be wary of one man in particular, a hitman they were desperate to sign.
"Warrenpoint will be a difficult game because there is no pressure on them and they are fighting for every point in this league, while there is the added edge surrounding the Daniel Hughes affair as we tried to sign him a few times," added Feeney who was coaching at Salisbury City before taking on his first managerial role with the Blues in April last year.
"With the greatest of respect to Warrenpoint Town they are not viewed as one of the big sides in the league, but we have to be consistent if we want to win the title.
"You cannot under-estimate anyone in this league or take anything for granted.
"I was looking at the stats and Glenavon took nine points off us last season. We lost the league by 10 points, but we will go into this game confident of getting back on track and I want a reaction from our boys."
Feeney was also shocked to learn that Cliftonville manager Tommy Breslin was questioning his own future after the Reds' 6-1 defeat at Ballymena United.
He added: "I really like Tommy and the Irish League needs guys like Tommy to stay on as manager.
"I cannot believe he said to his players he was contemplating walking away after the Ballymena United defeat.
"Tommy is a gentleman and winner and a smashing bloke."