Belfast Telegraph

I'll be better for lessons learned this season, vows 'gobsmacked' Linfield boss Healy

By Gareth Hanna

Linfield manager David Healy last night vowed to be 'better' next season after his side failed to qualify for major European competition for the first time in 15 seasons.

Back in 2003, a struggling Linfield finished fourth in the table, 27 points behind champions Glentoran. Yes, that heralded a place in the long-forgotten Inter Toto Cup, but it was one that the Blues rejected.

This term, an identical fourth place finish, 24 points behind Crusaders, still left the door to high-profile European competition ajar.

But that was only until Glentoran slammed it shut in the Blues' faces via a thrilling comeback at Windsor Park in the Europa League play-off semi-final last night.

Healy locked his dressing room door for quite some time after the final whistle and when he emerged, pulled no punches and confirmed that heads will roll for a disappointing season.

"Not good enough," he rapped. "You can't gift one goal in this league never mind four. I've had a constructive chat with the boys. There is one thing I won't do is point the finger at individuals. As a team we were not good enough.

"I told the players that some of them will be leaving the club. There are players under contract that will leave in due course. What I don't want is a club suffering the same results and the same disappointments.

"I was measured in what I said to the players and I intend to speak with them again tomorrow night.

"Over the season, I have found out a lot about this team. I've found out a lot about the players - I've learned a hell of a lot as a young manager and coach.

"I know I'll be better for it next year and I hope that applies to the players. I'm absolutely gobsmacked about the result."

There is good news for the Blues; the season after that fourth place finish in 2003 they won the league. Can David Healy's Linfield bounce back in similarly spectacular style?

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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