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Linfield boss David Healy won't tolerate a drop in Blues' desire levels


We’ve done it: David Healy celebrates the Shield victory

We’ve done it: David Healy celebrates the Shield victory

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

We’ve done it: David Healy celebrates the Shield victory

Linfield manager David Healy punched the air in delight following his team's dramatic 3-1 extra-time County Antrim Shield quarter-final win over Cliftonville at Windsor Park on Tuesday night.

It was a mixture of joy and relief as the Blues ended a two-year losing sequence against their cross-city rivals - it was also Healy's first victory at the new-look international venue since taking over from Warren Feeney.

Aaron Burns' double - one from the spot - in extra-time had Healy hopping from his seat after Andy Waterworth had cancelled out Jay Donnelly's first-half strike for the Reds.

The jeers at the weekend, following a disappointing draw with lowly Carrick Rangers, suddenly turned to cheers.

Healy beamed: "I told the boys they have now set the standard that I want to see on a consistent basis. That's the level I know they can now play at.

"Anything below that will not be good enough. I've learned quickly that when teams play Linfield, they raise their game.

"So regardless of whether it's against Dungannon, Ballymena, Crusaders or Cliftonville, we've got to show the same desire, passion and commitment."

It may have been only his third game in charge, but Healy insists the pressure has been on from day one.

He continued: "I've come here to win trophies. It's been well documented about the club's lack of success. It's all about winning matches - and that's what we aim to do. The players deserve a massive amount of credit.

"Their fitness levels are superb. They showed desire and commitment against the Reds. I couldn't have asked for any more. We'll not get carried away. We are in the semi-finals. We'll not get ahead of ourselves.

"I know the players have the same ambitions as myself. They have the desire to win medals."

It was new Cliftonville manager Gerard Lyttle's first defeat since taking over the reins from Tommy Breslin, but he was far from disappointed with his team's contribution.

He said: "We rested a few players from Saturday's game. Marc Smyth, Chris Curran and Marty Donnelly were all missing, while we left Ryan Catney and Stevie Garrett on the bench, but the lads that came in did really well.

"A lot of them hadn't really played a full 90 minutes, never mind another 20 minutes in extra-time.

"I couldn't fault their hunger and desire. They battled right to the end, but it just wasn't enough, so I'm not overly concerned because I know there is still a lot to come from this team.

"The boys are upbeat and they are focused on the next game.

"We are very solid defensively and, offensively, we have got great attacking options, with bags of flair and pace.

"We'll need the same again for what will be another big test against Glenavon at the weekend."

Belfast Telegraph