Belfast Telegraph

McLaughlin confident Reds can end season on a high note

 

Aiming for Europe: Cliftonville manager Paddy McLaughlin
Aiming for Europe: Cliftonville manager Paddy McLaughlin

By Stephen Alexander

Cliftonville boss Paddy McLaughlin believes his side are starting to gain momentum as they prepare for the end-of-season European play-offs.

McLaughlin tasted defeat for the first time as Reds boss at Ballymena on Tuesday night but he insists his players are on the right track as they aim to finish a largely forgettable campaign on a high note.

"From what we have seen of the boys so far in training, their application has been top drawer and anything we have asked of them, they've been excellent and they have responded well to the new ideas we're trying to bring with us.

"If we keep building that momentum and improving, we'll be alright over the course of the season.

"It's been a bit stop-start since I arrived with a game, then a free week, then a rearranged midweek game, but I think from now on we're guaranteed to be playing every Saturday and you like that pattern where you're training on a Tuesday and Thursday and then a match on the Saturday.

"The target is to try and get the club into Europe via the play-offs - that is a massive financial boost for any club and that's what we're aiming for.

"Every game we're learning more about the players and they're learning more about us so it's all about development."

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The Solitude side travel to Glenavon - another side with European aspirations - in a rearranged league game this Saturday and McLaughlin believes the play-off format will benefit both clubs.

"This season the league title has been pretty much a two-horse race and the rest of the teams could be just seeing out the season but the play-offs keep everyone involved and keeps things exciting.

"We're building for next season and the work is already in progress on that.

"It will be another tough game because Glenavon will be targeting European football like ourselves, so there's a still a lot to play for and a lot of points to be won and lost."

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