Belfast Telegraph

Tommy Breslin believes Cliftonville are still top team

by Stuart McKinley

Tommy Breslin has stoked the fire ahead of tomorrow's potential title decider by declaring 'I have the best team.'

And the Cliftonville manager is challenging his players to go out and prove it by beating Linfield before going on to win a second successive Premiership title.

Victory will move the Reds into the driving seat with just four games to go, but Breslin knows that defeat, in what could be a pivotal game at Windsor Park, may well end their hopes of making history – even if it is not an out-and-out title decider.

"The league won't be won on Saturday, but it could be lost if we lose the game," said Breslin.

"We have a good record against Linfield and we will go to Windsor Park with no fear.

"We have already won there this season and we are capable of doing it again. We'll be giving it our best shot, that's for sure.

"I am obviously biased, but I believe that my players are the best team in the league. It may not be reflected in the league table as things stand, but I do believe that on our day, with the football that we play, we are the best team.

"It's up to the players to go and show that on the pitch. If they focus on their own jobs then I am confident that they won't freeze."

The situation at the top of the Premiership, with Linfield two points ahead, is such that both teams have the title in their own hands with five games remaining – although only one of them will be able to say that at 5pm tomorrow.

Breslin is determined it will be his team.

"Of course we've thought about the permutations and the best case scenario is that it's a must-win game for us," said Breslin.

"After that you just don't want to lose it. If we do it will make things very difficult for us and Linfield would have to slip up more than once in their last four games to give us a chance.

"We haven't even contemplated that though because we are focused on trying to win the game."

Five more wins for a team that had won six-in-a-row before last Saturday's scoreless draw at Glentoran, isn't an impossible task and not only would that see the Reds retain the title, it would also mean a place in the club's history for the current group of players.

"It would be massive for the club if we were to win the league again," said Breslin.

"The incentive for us is to become the first Cliftonville team to retain a league title and that would be fantastic for these players.

"I will be reminding them before they play Linfield just what a win could mean for the club.

"It's different from last year when we won the league with four games to go. This is a different test for the players and they have to show their mettle and character."

Belfast Telegraph


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