Belfast Telegraph

'We were rightly written off but we've proved them wrong': David Healy hails Linfield's title-winning squad

Linfield's manager David Healy after his side sealed the Irish League title.
Linfield's manager David Healy after his side sealed the Irish League title.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Manager David Healy says Linfield's league title charge was fired on by being written off before the Danske Bank Premiership season started.

The Blues had got their hands on the Gibson Cup in Healy's first full season in charge but couldn't make much of theit title defence in the 17/18 season, finishing fourth and some 24 points behind champions Crusaders.

Fast forward a year and the Crues, by a twist of fate, were forced to watch on as Linfield made mathematically certain of winning the title with a 0-0 stalemate at Windsor Park.

"I'm immensely proud of every single player in the dressing room," said manager David Healy, whose team have already picked up 14 points more than they did last season, with three games still to play.

"The mentality side of it changed. We worked very hard in pre-season on not conceding as many goals as we did (last season). People may think it's only basic but the players have taken it on board, as you can see.

"Were we at our best in games this year? Not all the time, it's impossible. You need a strong back four and a solid goalkeeper, which we have had in Roy Carroll until he was injured and Gareth (Deane) has proved that he's more than capable, which we knew.

"Credit to all the players. The mentality from day one was 'let's go and prove people wrong'. We were written off and rightly so. I've no issues with that because the facts don't lie. We were nowhere near good enough last year with the players we brought in in summer 2017.

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"But those players have ended up being massive players for us this year; Josh Robinson, Jordan Stewart and Andy Mitchell."

Robinson was a key cog in a defensive unit that has now kept 26 clean sheets in all competitons this term and let in only 21 Premiership goals in 35 games. But Healy was also keen to highlight the 'Championship-winning statistic' at the other end of the pitch as his side are just one goal shy of 100 for the season.

Put it together and you get a title-winning defence and a title-winning attack put together by a title-winning manager.

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