Cliftonville’s Jamie McGovern insists his team will not ‘freeze’ in Saturday’s Wasp Solutions League Cup final against Crusaders at Solitude.
The Reds approach the showdown on the back of successive defeats -- to Portadown and Coleraine -- but the former Glentoran man is ready to put things right.
McGovern, however, adds the Irish League champions and League Cup holders have become ‘public enemy number one’.
“We are now up there to be shot at -- it’s a pressure that comes with being champions,” said McGovern. “It would be fair to say there is an certain amount of expectancy from the team, simply because we did so well last season.
“Portadown have taken seven out of a possible nine point off us in this league campaign. Two of those games have been lost in the last 10 minutes. So it’s a mixture of our concentration levels not being where they should be and other teams raising their game against us.We need to be right in every way for this cup final.”
McGovern also believes that Crusaders will be travelling up the road on a revenge mission following their 4-0 thumping in last season’s final.
“There is no doubt that Crusaders will be hurting from last season,” he adds. “We not only beat them in the final, but also put them out of the Irish Cup.
“Add in the fact we defeated them in the league to pull a few more points clear of them when it mattered. So, it would be fair to say the’ll be coming for a bit of revenge.Hopefully we’ll have the character to bounce back after two defeats to go on and win this final.”