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Linfield must get their house in order fast, blasts David Healy

 

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Drawing a blank: Linfield players show their frustration during last month’s draw with Dungannon

Drawing a blank: Linfield players show their frustration during last month’s draw with Dungannon

Drawing a blank: Linfield players show their frustration during last month’s draw with Dungannon

Linfield boss David Healy admits his team's inconsistency has now become something of an epidemic.

The former Northern Ireland striker is baffled by how the Blues can reach ridiculously high levels in terms of performance then, within a few days, fall well below what is accepted of a team defending the Danske Bank Premiership crown.

Even though they have won only three of their last nine games in all competitions, Healy's team are still snapping at the heels of cross-city rivals Glentoran at the top of the league table.

They were left kicking their heels at the weekend due to the fact that they were dumped out of the Irish Cup by little Queen's University in the last round.

So the Blues have been festering since their last outing - a shattering 3-1 defeat by Larne at Inver Park last Tuesday.

But they have the chance of getting their act together again tonight when they face struggling Dungannon Swifts at Windsor Park - a must-win game if there ever was one for Healy and his troops.

"It's important we bounce back after the Larne result," said Healy. "We've done it before this season after a poor result.

"We are still in and around where we want to be (in the table), even after the disappointing results we've had. Other teams will be asking themselves the same question - how are we still in it (the title race) even after a dip in form?

"There is still a heck of a lot of points to play for up ahead. We've got to stick together and hopefully our performances and work rate improve."

In their last outing at the international arena, the rampaging Blues knocked eight goals past a beleaguered Glenavon. Then came the wake-up call at Inver Park.

"It's been frustrating. It seems that we are taking two steps forward and three steps back," added Healy.

"We've got to do something about it together as a group and me, as the manager - the leader of the players in the dressing room. We need to make sure our performances improve.

"Regardless of what team goes out onto the pitch, we should be more competitive.

"We shouldn't go from a high-level performance, which we produced against Glenavon, to the display we turned in against Larne. It's down to basic inconsistency.

"What made it even more disappointing was the fact that we were backed by a big sell-out Linfield crowd and we let them down again.

"Some of them left the ground early, and rightly so in my eyes. They were hugely disappointed.

"As the manager, I take full responsibility along with the players. We were caught short at Inver Park - we were beaten by a better team.

"We didn't get near the work rate or the standard of their attacking play, which was disappointing.

"I have belief in the players but once they cross that white line, everything is in their hands.

"Yes, I can make substitutions and change formations, but when it comes to delivering on the pitch, it's down to the individuals, from one to 11.

"We didn't do the basics (against Larne) and that means working hard.

"We were very good a few days earlier against Glenavon, but then we were way short at Inver Park."

Even though only six points separate the top five clubs, Healy insists Larne could still have a big say.

"People keep talking about the top four or five, but if Larne put together a run of results they will be up there also," he said.

"But we can't afford to worry about the rest, we must get our own house back in order by taking three points against Dungannon - that's for sure."

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