Belfast Telegraph

Linfield can slam brakes on the Crusaders, insists David Healy

By David Mason

Bullish Linfield boss David Healy believes his boys can put their Seaview hoodoo to bed in tomorrow's Danske Premiership showdown against Crusaders.

The Blues have won only one of their last nine visits to the Shore Road - a 3-2 victory in April 2014 under the watch of former boss David Jeffrey.

That horrible run dates back to April 2012. Five defeats and three draws doesn't make pleasant reading for any Linfield fan.

Healy is determined to change the trend. He said: "This is a massive game. Crusaders are a good side. But I firmly believe that we are a good team, when we do things right. We will be going there to set out our stall to get a result, which we are more than capable of.

"I know the questions will be asked are the players good enough? I have a firm belief in the players, but they have to show the character that I hope they have.

"The stuff that I see in training is great.

"They are all good footballers on the training pitch, but they are going to be judged at 3pm on Saturday."

The Blues are now into their fifth season without a major trophy - and Healy requires no reminding. "I think we put the Cliftonville jinx to bed last season - we got a couple of wins at Solitude," he adds. "We have to ask questions why we haven't won at Seaview for a long time.

"We need to go there and be confident... we need to be big. We need to puff out our chests and send out a message that 'we're here to play today'.

"If I get that from the 11 players that I pick - and we go with a strong mentality, knowing that we are a good team and have good players, hopefully we'll get the right result."

The Blues were far from impressive in their midweek game against Coleraine.

They had to rely on a controversial last gasp strike from Aaron Burns to cancel out James McLauglin's second half goal.

Healy went on: "It was disappointing.

"I don't think we had players with enough courage.

"We had enough possession, but we didn't create a lot. Sometimes Windsor Park is the most difficult place to play because the fans become edgy. That can work its way on to the pitch.

"The players then start taking the easier options, instead of actually trying to make things happen.

"There was enough experience in our team to make things happen. We certainly didn't do enough of it."

Healy agreed his team benefited from a little bit of fortune, courtesy of an error of judgement from referee Keith Kennedy, who awarded the Blues a corner kick that never was.

"There were more than three or four decisions that could have gone either way," he concluded.

"I know Oran (Kearney) wasn't happy. I told him afterwards that it is pointless trying to speak with the referee and his assistants.

"All you can ask for is an honest assessment from the ref, his linesmen and the fourth official.

"The goal failed to paper over the cracks.

"Our performance just wasn't good enough."

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