Linfield manager David Healy has insisted that his team will go all out to win tonight’s Champions League tie against Zalgiris Vilnius at Windsor Park in normal time rather than risk playing for penalties.
Healy watched England suffer shoot-out woe against Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley on Sunday and, while his team have practiced spot-kicks ahead of this evening’s encounter, the Blues boss would prefer to have the job done before it reaches that nerve-tingling stage.
Linfield trail 3-1 from last week’s first leg in Lithuania and, with the away goals rule now ditched by Uefa, right now penalties seem like a good option for the Irish League champions but when asked by the Belfast Telegraph if he would settle for that, his answer was emphatic.
“No. We want to win the game, whether it’s 3-0 or 4-1 or whatever,” stated Healy, whose side will drop into the Europa Conference League should they lose out this evening.
“We will set up correctly. I’m sure people will be demanding that we play three or four centre forwards to try and get the two goals within 20 or 25 minutes but that’s not going to be the case because, having seen the way they play and the quality of the players they have, especially with their forward players, we don’t want to be out of the tie after 25 minutes or by half-time.
“If we are well in the game, which I firmly believe we will be, then you can assess and make changes and adapt formations and whatever else and empty the bench to try and get more attacking players on.
“Whatever team we will start with will be full of hard work, closing down and attitude and hopefully that will be enough.”
The Windsor chief added: “The boys practiced penalties on Saturday.
"Nothing can replicate that in-game moment and that second you need to step up and take it. You just have to trust the player if it goes to penalties to make the correct decision.”
Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer David Healy says that England boss Gareth Southgate and his players should feel proud at how they conducted themselves in the Euro 2020 finals but has admitted he has no sympathy for them following their penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy in Sunday’s decider at Wembley.