Belfast Telegraph

We wanted it on the deck against Linfield but back four didn't play ball: Eddie

By Keith Bailie

Eddie Patterson believes his defence's failure to implement their passing game stopped Glentoran from shining on Saturday.

Since replacing Scott Young at The Oval, the former Cliftonville boss has asked his team to keep the ball on the deck and retain possession – a system has which has generally proved successful, notably in Glentoran's stunning Irish Cup final victory over the Reds in May – but was disappointed that his instruction wasn't adhered to in the 0-0 draw with Linfield.

"Although we kept a clean sheet, our centre backs frustrated me at times," he said.

"Big Calum Birney is still learning the game, but he showed a few nerves this afternoon.

"He is capable of getting the ball down and picking his passes but he was lofting it way up the park, which isn't our game.

"It was his first Big Two game in a year, so perhaps that played a part.

"Our back four was alert defensively but the problem came when we had the ball," Patterson added.

"We like to pass the ball out of defence and when your two centre backs knock the ball long it takes away from what we're trying to do.

"Against Linfield, the ball was knocked long too often and it then becomes a 50/50 ball in the middle of the the field.

"It's not our style and it didn't help us," the frustrated Glens' boss said.

Glentoran had a man advantage for the majority of the game after Aaron Burns received a red card for a tussle with Ryan O'Neill in the first half, but Patterson was exasperated his side failed to make their extra man count.

He explained: "We rode our luck a little bit, it was probably our worst performance of the season.

"But to go to Windsor Park and be disappointed with a draw is not a bad thing, but we didn't perform.

"We looked like the team who were down to 10 men for most of the game.

"There was no urgency about our play and no urgency when we were on the ball.

"It was a damp squib of a performance which is the galling thing.

"We were slightly better in the second half. We didn't have our second shot on target until after Jason Hill was sent off and just didn't perform well at all," Patterson stated.

"You need to give Linfield credit, they made it difficult for us and managed to make it look as if they had the man advantage."

Patterson conceded that left-back Hill deserved his second half dismissal, but he was frustrated about the amount of yellow cards that were dished out during the match.

"I didn't see the Aaron Burns incident so I'll not comment on it, but I've no qualms about Jason Hill's red card.

"It was a booking for the first foul and a booking for the second foul, so he can have no complaints.

"Although I did think there were a few strange decisions, there were nine bookings in the game and I felt a few of them were harsh, for both sides.

"Stephen McAlorum was booked for his first foul of the game, while there were other players who weren't booked for their fourth or fifth challenge.

"You have to query how it works. We need to know how many fouls equate to persistent fouling.

"It's a farce really – we've had bookings this season where the referee points to different spots on the pitch and the fouls never actually happened.

"That's the kind of thing that frustrates me," Patterson added.

Belfast Telegraph

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