Mulgrew urging Blues to conjure up some magic
Linfield midfielder Jamie Mulgrew believes the Blues are capable of producing something special to land three points in today’s top of the table clash at Seaview.
David Healy’s men go into the showdown seven points adrift of Danske Bank Premiership champions Crusaders and defeat would almost certainly torpedo their title aspirations.
However, victory on the Shore Road would catapult the Blues right back into the reckoning and skipper Mulgrew believes his boys can draw first blood in the scoring stakes as the two previous fixtures between the teams this season have ended in stalemate.
“We have shown in our last two meetings we are capable of matching the Crues,” he said. “Those two games are in the past now and it’ll come down to what level of performance we put in on Saturday.
“It’s important we put in a good performance because if we lose it’s going to be a tough ask to claw 10 points back. So it’s a huge incentive to bring the gap back to four points. We’ve got to show the desire, passion and will to win; everything that’s expected of a Linfield team.
“We certainly have the quality to put in a match-winning performance, but you have to put words into action.”
With the teams so evenly matched, Mulgrew stresses it could take a little piece of magic to win it.
He said: “The fact we have drawn 0-0 in our two meetings tells you the quality of both teams. We have been scoring a lot of goals, they’ve been scoring a lot of goals and yet we cancelled each other out.
“Coming into a high pressure game like this is why we all play football. If you can’t look forward to a game of this intensity, you shouldn’t be playing.
“Both clubs will be relishing this fixture. Hopefully it’ll be a great advertisement for the game because the league has been improving and attendances are up which is a real positive.
“We have been on a good run of form, but Crusaders have been winning games and there’s no doubt they are the form team. It’s up to us now to stay hot on their heels.”
Mulgrew realises the Blues must respond following an anaemic 1-1 draw against their bitter rivals Glentoran on Boxing Day. He added: “It was disappointing. We didn’t reach the heights we have recently or play to our full potential. We actually played quite poorly, didn’t take our chances and Glentoran capitalised.
“We lost a bit of ground on Crusaders, so we have to make up for what happened. Fair play to them (Glentoran), they fought to the end and got a point. You have to give them credit for that. But this is entirely different.
“Crusaders are champions and top of the table and there’s no hiding from the fact they are currently the best team in the league. That’s a fact and the evidence is there.
“We have to turn up and every single one of us has to be on top of our game if we are to have any hope of closing the gap.”