Belfast Telegraph

Happy Healy hails Linfield's new stars

 

By Alex Mills

Manager David Healy hailed Linfield new boys Joel Cooper and Daniel Kearns following last night's 3-0 demolition of Institute at Windsor Park.

Although the Blues dominated right from the off, the home fans had to wait until 31 minutes to celebrate the opening goal when the lethal Andy Waterworth converted.

After the break Chris Casement netted before new boy Cooper capped his Windsor Park debut with a third.

"They (Kearns and Cooper) are not bad, are they?" said Healy.

"I'm not surprised about Daniel's quality because I've always known about him.

"When you look at the clubs he has played for, that speaks for itself. Both lads have that little bit of x-factor in terms of picking a pass or doing something special.

"I watched Joel when he was at Glenavon and I'm pleasantly surprised at how good he is.

"That's a credit to the Glenavon coaching staff, Gary Hamilton and Paul Millar, who have worked with him when he moved from Ballyclare Comrades.

"But the challenge will come for both lads over the next few weeks at Seaview and Solitude," added Healy.

Although the Blues were missing a posse of first-team regulars, Healy was thrilled with his side’s application.

He added: “Institute are a newly promoted team, so they were not going to come to Windsor Park and open up. We had two or three chances to make the breakthrough, but it just didn’t come.

“When that happens, you begin to wonder. But the boys showed great patience. Sometimes you can become a bit edgy and fragile, but they kept probing. Credit to the players.

“I thought our first goal was terrific in terms of the movement and the finish. That gave us the platform to build on and express ourselves in the second half.

“I don’t think Institute had a shot on goal and that is not being disrespectful.

“We’ll not become carried away — we know we have to be miles better than last season.

“We are far from being the finished article, that’s for sure.

“We still have a lot of players missing.

“The challenge is there for them to get themselves back into the side.”

Institute boss Paddy McLaughlin had no complaints.

He said: “It was a disappointing result. Any defeat is disappointing but it’s no shame coming to Windsor Park and getting beaten by one of the title contenders.

“We’ll not dwell on it and we’ll move on quickly.

“The quality they (Linfield) have is first class and you have to expect that when you come to places like here.

“Their first goal was quality, but up until then I thought we defended well and we kept our shape really well, but they have a lot of quality players in the squad and that’s the way it is.”

• Linfield Ladies suffered their second defeat of their Uefa Women’s Champions League qualifying group campaign, going down 2-0 to Ajax at Seaview.

Iina Salmi and Vanity Lewerissa scored for the Dutch side, who have won both of their opening matches.

Belfast Telegraph

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