Belfast Telegraph

Do something special: David Healy urges Linfield to create history with Europa League victory

Dreaming big: Linfield boss David Healy last night at Windsor Park
Dreaming big: Linfield boss David Healy last night at Windsor Park

By Steven Beacom

David Healy has called on his players to create history and become the first Linfield team to win back-to-back ties in Europe since 1966.

The Blues lead Sutjeska 2-1 from the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie in Montenegro ahead of the eagerly awaited return at Windsor Park tonight.

Should Healy's men, who will be captained by Jamie Mulgrew, finish the job, they will play Cypriot outfit Apoel or Qarabag of Azerbaijan in the play-off round for a place in the group stages, where they could potentially quadruple the £1m they have already earned in European competition this season.

It would be some achievement for Linfield, who overcame HB Torshavn from the Faroe Islands in the last phase.

You have to go back 53 years ago for the previous time the Blues won two ties in succession when they reached the quarter-finals of the 1966/67 European Cup, eventually lifted by Celtic.

"Linfield have a long, hugely respected tradition in Europe, but I'm hearing it's 50 odd years since we won back-to-back ties," said Healy who, only half-joking, says such is the expectation at the club some fans expect the team to win the Europa League.

"We want to do something special now. I want this team to be great and this is a chance to put a marker down.

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"People will automatically be thinking we should win at home after achieving such a good result out there - but it doesn't work like that. I enjoyed last week in Montenegro; it was a performance to be proud of and I look forward to the same at Windsor."

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