Triumphant Warren Feeney revealed how Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti was the inspiration behind Linfield's stunning 3-2 comeback win over Glentoran for the new Blues manager's crucial first Irish League Premier win.
Feeney was in Cardiff watching the Spanish giants beat Sevilla to lift the European Super Cup during his Pro Licence course and a question and answer session with the former Chelsea chief filled the Northern Ireland international with fresh hope after his side lost their league opener 3-0 to Portadown on Saturday.
The chat worked a treat as Linfield, who fell behind to two David Scullion goals, replied with a Peter Thompson strike and Aaron Burns' double, including an injury time winner.
Feeney, who made his Linfield debut as a sub, said: "Carlo told me to keep believing and that shapes and tactics don't win matches. He said the biggest thing in football was players retaining information. Our boys just need to believe how good they are.
"I was bouncing ideas off him and Carlo gave me his time. He has been at the top and worked with world class players. His advice was fantastic."
Feeney added: “I was away doing my Pro Licence in Wales, I went to the Super Cup final and was lucky enough to have a question and answer session with Carlo Ancelotti and watch Real Madrid train.”
Feeney's introduction in the 17th minute saw him follow in the footsteps of his father Warren Senior and grandfather Jimmy who also pulled on the Linfield jersey.
The Linfield supremo hailed his heroes for overturning a two goal deficit.
“After Saturday's result they showed tremendous guts and character and we must carry it on now,” he said.
“It's early days but we must show our quality. The Glens caused us problems but we dominated the game and did not sit back even with 10 men after Jimmy Callacher was sent off.
“I was gutted I didn't score but my game is blood and thunder and upsetting people. I loved very minute of it, I chased everything and it's all about desire and belief. If I can do this at 33, the other boys can.
“I have not decided how long I will play for but I will put myself forward. Big Mark Haughey came in and he was fantastic.
“The players must be able to handle pressure. I love playing away from home as sometimes fear can creep in to the other team.
“It's a 90 minute game and I
love all the banter. It inspires me but it's just game of football. Glentoran will cause teams problems this season, that's for sure.”
The Blues survived a major scare in the 40th minute when Fra McCaffrey directed a shot against the post but at the end of the first half Scullion's glancing header blasted the home side in front.
Scullion fired in a stunning second goal four minutes after the restart but the Blues hit back through Burns' 52nd minute header.
Thompson equalised in the 72nd minute and Burns supplied the sting in the tail, hammering in the winner right at the death, deep into stoppage time.
There wasn't time for the Glens to respond but they played their part in an enthralling contest.
Glens boss Eddie Patterson was unhappy with his side's focus and fitness at times.
“You could have driven a bus throughout the centre of our defence,” he rapped.
“That's a disappointing fact. We had 51 unforced errors which is totally alien to the way we played against Cliftonville. We didn't keep the ball well enough. Certain people are falling behind in fitness levels and for the type of football we want to play we must have the highest fitness levels.
“We were sloppy at times and conceded poor goals. It was too open a game — we don't want that, we need to show more composure.”
The negatives for Linfield were injuries to Andy Waterworth and Sean Ward while Jimmy Callacher was sent off late on. But the victory still tasted sweet.
Next up, Linfield go to Coleraine on Saturday, the Bannsiders desperate to bounce back from last night’s 2-0 defeat at Institute. The Glens host Warrenpoint.