Belfast Telegraph

Now I'll find out what my Blues stars are made of, says Healy


by david mason

Linfield manager David Healy has demanded a response following the midweek League Cup demise against Ballymena United.

Northern Ireland's record goalscorer doesn't mince his words. He claimed his boys were "not good enough" as they slumped to their first domestic defeat of the season against old boss David Jeffrey.

With Ballinamallard United visiting Windsor Park today, Healy has thrown down the gauntlet, stating: "The players have a chance to get the defeat out of their system."

He also insists he is big enough to shoulder part of the blame, stressing: "It is my responsibility. I pick the players, I put the team on the pitch.

"We have got to bounce back. We have to get our act together and get some points. I've already told the players what I expect. I told them performances like that are not acceptable.

"Hopefully we can put it to bed and move on. Make no mistake about it, it will be a difficult game. Ballinamallard have been in decent form. But we have to focus on ourselves."

Healy admits there was a lot of head scratching after what he witnessed at the Showgrounds.

He said: "Ballymena wanted it more which disappointed me. We didn't turn up... we were not good enough. They were hungrier, they worked harder than us.

"We disappeared out of the game. In the end, we were thankful we were beaten only 4-1. Even when we took the lead, it was against the run of play.

"The performance left me scratching my head. I wondered what happened to the team that narrowly lost to Queen of the South... where was the performance, where was the energy?"

To make matters worse, the Blues will be without the influential Ross Gaynor for today's game - the legacy of picking up two yellow cards at Ballymena.

"We need to regroup," added Healy. "The players know they have let themselves down and let the club down.

"I felt sorry for our fans, who again gave us great backing. I felt their hurt. I got stick and the players got stick - and rightly so. We got what we deserved. At half-time I could have made eight or nine substitutions.

"Ballymena are a good side. They are at the top end of the table for a reason. They are strong, physical and well organised. But we rolled over and that's not acceptable. It's now down to character in terms of bouncing back. We'll now see what the players are made of."

Ballinamallard are coming off the back of a League Cup hammering at Dungannon Swifts, but manager Gavin Dykes prefers to focus on the bread and butter issues.

"I was delighted with our performance against Glentoran last Saturday," he said. "We try to play a form of entertaining football. The wide opens spaces at Windsor Park will suit us. I'll be telling the players to go and express themselves."

Belfast Telegraph


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