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We may have lost the battle, but can still win the war, says Linfield boss David Healy

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Linfield's Daniel Finlayson gets in a shot against TNS

Linfield's Daniel Finlayson gets in a shot against TNS

Linfield's Daniel Finlayson gets in a shot against TNS

Linfield boss David Healy insists his boys can make it another famous European night at Windsor Park next week!

The Blues may have lost their Champions League first round tie against The New Saints at Park Hall n Oswestry on Tuesday night buy the odd goal, but the former Northern Ireland striker believes his troops are far from finished.

Although former Northern Ireland Under-21 international Ryan Brobbell grabbed the winning goal early in the second half, the Danske Bank Premiership champions created enough chances to win the game.

With a second-round tie against either Bodo/Glimt (Norway) or KI (Faroe Islands) up for grabs, Healy reckons the tie is far from over.

“I still believe and the players still believe -- we have an incredible opportunity next Wednesday,” he said. “We believe can not only win the game but progress to the next round.

“The players were disappointed, especially with the effort they put in and the opportunities they created. We’ll have another four or five training sessions coming up over the next week with a game in between (at Loughgall on Saturday).

“We’ll prepare thoroughly for what will be a huge game. We may have lost the battle in Oswestry we are far from finished . . . sometimes you lose battles along the way, but the big one is next week. We still believe we are more than capable of progressing.”

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David Healy confident Linfield will progress at Windsor Park

David Healy confident Linfield will progress at Windsor Park

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David Healy confident Linfield will progress at Windsor Park

Healy insists the first leg panned out exactly as he expected.

“It was always going to be a tight,” he added. “I know their manager (Anthony Limbrick) went on record by stating it was a good opportunity for his side to go through, but it was always going to be a 50-50 game between two evenly matched teams.

“We started poorly and we couldn’t get a foothold in the game . . . we were on the back foot and conceded too many corners, we looked a little bit short of where we wanted to be.

“But we showed a bit of character, we regrouped and almost took the lead before half-time. Stevie Fallon had a good effort which was well saved and Matty Clarke had a header knocked off the line. I couldn’t fault the effort and commitment of the players.

“It could have been different . . . it was unfortunate for us we didn’t take the chances that came our way, but hopefully things will be different next Wednesday. We have great belief in the dressing room. Their pitch was tough enough to play on, but we know every inch of Windsor Park.

“With a big Linfield crowd behind us, we’ll make sure the players are ready. We intend to take the game to TNS next week.”

Even though new signing Robbie McDaid was guilty of missing one of those big chances, Healy was thrilled with his competitive debut.

“I thought Robbie was good, he led the line well,” he went on. “We have a big squad, naturally there were a few of the boys disappointed they didn’t start the game.

“I thought when the substitutes came on, they gave us the spark and the energy we needed. We needed to make sure we were still in the tie. I don’t think Chris (Johns) had too much to do over the 90 minutes apart from picking the ball out of the net.”

TNS chief Anthony Limbrick reckons it will tight affair at Windsor Park on July 13.

“We were happy with our performance and we know we can go again,” he said. “We’ll have a look at the game again and then debrief the players and analyse the performance.

“There plenty positives, but plenty to work on. Linfield are a very good side and have attacking threats all over the pitch. We’ll expect them to come at us over there, but we know we must keep a clean sheet to win the tie.

“To keep a clean sheet against a very good Linfield side was good. They showed that they have attacking threats in the team and they can be dangerous.

“Overall, I think we deserved to win by one goal. We had a lot of possession in the first half, but we didn’t work the goalkeeper, as was discussed at half-time. But the players executed the game-plan well.”


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