Belfast Telegraph

Healy eager to build as he turns his focus to next season's challenges


Looking ahead: David Healy won’t rest on his laurels
Looking ahead: David Healy won’t rest on his laurels

By Steven Beacom

Linfield boss David Healy has revealed that he has already turned his sights on next season even though the champions still have one more game this term.

Fresh from a Jordan Stewart-inspired 5-1 home victory over Cliftonville, Linfield will see out their title-winning campaign away to Coleraine today.

Healy will want to win at the Showgrounds but even more important is building on 2018-19.

Expect major new arrivals at Windsor Park in the summer and a determination to make progress in Europe with the Blues back in the Champions League.

"I have already started to look towards next season," said Healy. "We have spoken to the players about having all the accolades and winning the title and now is the time to move on. If we don't move on we'll get found out.

"There won't be a huge amount of numbers coming in but what we hopefully will add is two or three players who will come in and be challenging for first-team places straight away.

"That's not being disrespectful to the players who have achieved success this season but to continue we need to improve. We have to keep improving our standards. We are looking at recruiting good players wherever they are."

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On the challenge of Europe, Northern Ireland's record goalscorer cannot wait.

"I wish it was pre-season tomorrow to get us ready," said Healy. "We started a little bit later this season not being in Europe so I will sit down with the staff to make sure when it comes to next February or March that we aren't out on our knees like we were the last time we were in the Champions League.

"It is important we have a lot of quality in our squad next season to enable us to rotate the squad if necessary.

"The Champions League games are the biggest we can look forward to. First we'll see who we get in the draw and our aim will be to win the tie."

Healy was full of praise for his team after their big win over Cliftonville with Stewart and Daniel Kearns highlighted.

"With the talent and attributes Jordan has he should be the best player week in, week out. When he has the glimpses and flashes of brilliance that he showed against Cliftonville he can be unplayable," said Healy. "Daniel is another player who you watch in training and in games and you can see how good a footballer he is. You don't have to coach Daniel too much and I thought his work rate was phenomenal.

"All in all the players have been incredible. The grittiness and determination to succeed from day one has stood out."

Belfast Telegraph

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