Linfield manager David Healy hits back at “workmanlike” tag ahead of Reds showdown
Linfield manager David Healy is fed up being damned by faint praise but is confident half-hearted compliments will drive his players on in the thick of a fascinating league title race.
Other clubs have been put on a media pedestal in recent times, including rivals Glentoran, Cliftonville and Larne and Coleraine earlier in the season.
But heading into the business end of the campaign, it is the Blues who have lost just one of their 23 league games.
It is Linfield who lie top of the table.
Asked after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Glenavon if his team is ‘firing on all cylinders’, Healy said: “I don’t know who would be saying we haven’t been playing well.
“We passed Ballymena off the pitch last week and we were more than a match for Larne in the County Antrim Shield final.
“I say to the players and we use this in the changing room because everybody discusses or talks about how well some of the other teams are doing.
“When it comes to Linfield we get called ‘workmanlike’ or people say we always ‘find a way’ and whatever else.
“Yes, we do ‘find a way’ but we are much more than that.
“I feel we are more than that and we’ll be even better moving forward. We’re getting it tight at the minute (with injuries), but we are in and around where we need to be.”
While the Glens lie three points below in second and Cliftonville are only five points off the top in third, Healy says his only concern is Linfield’s points tally.
That’s not to say the 42-year-old, who is chasing a fourth straight title, isn’t aware that two of the Blues’ fiercest rivals are breathing down his neck.
“Managers can be liars at times,” he said. “They’ll say ‘I don’t check the league table’ or ‘I don’t know where the other teams are’. But they do.
“Listen, I could tell you our next 15 fixtures and probably give you the dates and times of those games, so you know when other teams are in and around you.
“The most important thing is looking after what we can do and what we can affect and I think the players have been doing that.”
Tuesday night’s trip to Solitude is the first test of a tough run of league games with Coleraine (A), Larne (H) and Glentoran (A) also lying in wait between now and February 11.
“We had Cliftonville watched at Larne on Friday night and I was told they were excellent,” said Healy. “They won the game and worked their socks off. And rightly so.
“If I was a player working under Paddy McLaughlin, I’d want to work hard because he is that type of manager and has that type of demeanour.
“Cliftonville have been incredible this season. Maybe people thought other clubs would overtake them in the table around Christmas but they are still there. We know how big a challenge it’s going to be.”
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