Belfast Telegraph

Healy delighted by Linfield's 90-minute display as Warrenpoint put to sword

Linfield manager David Healy
Linfield manager David Healy

Linfield manager David Healy said his side's willingness to play for the full 90 minutes was the most pleasing aspect of their 7-0 thrashing of Warrenpoint Town.

The Blues moved to just two points behind Danske Bank Premiership leaders Coleraine and Crusaders as Joel Cooper and Shayne Lavery both netted hat-tricks in the easy victory at Windsor Park.

It puts Linfield in a commanding position in the league, with Healy's charges still having two games in hand over their nearest rivals due to their sensational Europa League run.

And the manager admitted he was delighted with how his side refused to coast to the final whistle and kept up their scoring barrage late in the game.

Indeed, all three of Cooper's treble goals came after the hour mark, with his final two strikes inside the last eight minutes, emphasising the Blues' dominance.

"The performance was there, the goals were there and from start to finish I thought we dominated. But for probably (Berraat) Turker, their goalkeeper, who especially in the first half he made three or four really good saves, we could have been out of sight at half-time," Healy told Linfield's official website.

"Credit to the players again because we stuck with the same formation that got us a positive result and performance against Ballymena on Saturday. We had an idea that Warrenpoint might come and sit behind the ball, and we wanted to make sure that we created opportunities.

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"In games like that, when teams come and sit in, it's important you get a goal at the right times. Stevie Fallon got a big goal for us, it got us a foothold in the game and gave us a little bit of a platform to build on.

"And also in the second half, scoring late goals. Sometimes games can fizzle out and become a wee bit sloppy and messy at times, but the players kept going until the whistle and got another couple of goals."

The result sets up a thrilling clash with top of the table Coleraine at the Showgrounds on Saturday, with Linfield able to leapfrog the Bannsiders should they come away with all three points.

Oran Kearney's men are unbeaten this season and have already seen off the challenge of Healy's men once this season, winning 4-2 at Windsor Park in August.

That means revenge is on the agenda for Linfield when they head north on Saturday, but Healy insists it's a challenge that they will embrace, not shy away from.

"They're top, we're fourth, so we're still playing a bit of catch-up here," says the Linfield boss. "Coleraine are a good side, they proved over the last number of weeks since Oran came back that they'll be a difficult task on Saturday.

"We look forward to the challenge, we relish the challenge. I spoke to the players after the game to make sure we're doing everything right mentally and physically to be ready to go for a big game on Saturday."

The 40-year-old added of the two sides' previous meeting: "They caught us at a bad time, in and around our European run. We took that one on the chin, they enjoyed their win and their celebrations and we look forward to going down there on Saturday.

"I have a huge amount of respect for Coleraine as a club and Oran as manager, and you want to test yourself against the best teams and they're the top team at the moment."

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