Jeffrey remains calm

Linfield's Billy Joe Burns celebrates scorimng with Andrew Waterworth  and  Mark McAllister
Linfield's Billy Joe Burns celebrates scorimng with Andrew Waterworth and Mark McAllister

Linfield boss David Jeffrey is showing no signs of feeling any pressure as the Premiership title race enters the final furlong!

The Blues maintained their two point lead over reigning champions Cliftonville following this win over Dungannon Swifts at blustry Windsor Park and, with only one game remaining until the top-six split, it has all the makings of a thrilling finale.

Second half goals from Andy Waterworrth - his 23rd of the season -Michael Carvill and Billy Joe Burns, sent the home fans away happy.

And, when Jeffrey emerged to face the waiting scribes, he sunk back in his chair before admitting he was ‘thrilled’ with his team’s progress.

He said: “People keep talking about Cliftonville keeping the pressure on Linfield. The reality is, we are under pressure every week . . . every team raises their game against us.

“In terms of the title race, I would suggest the pressure is all on Cliftonville, simply because they are the title holders.

“They want to become the first Cliftonville team to retain the championship. You’ve got to be a good side to win it . . . but you’ve got to be a great side to retain it.

“Yes, the expectation is on us, but the pressure is on them. You have got to remember that this is a brand new group of players at this club.

“My assessment at this moment in time is they are much further down the line in terms of progress, than I expected, which I am thrilled about.

“We wanted to be challenging this season - and I think we’ve done that tremendously well. It’s all about the players. I keep telling them they are at this club because I think they are good enough.”

Once Waterworth rattled in the opener early in the second half, the result was never in doubt. The first half was a tedious affair, littered with fouls and stoppages.

“I told the boys at half time to go out and believe in their own ability, just as much as I believe in them,” added Jefffrey. “To be fair we got a good early goal and they helped the confidence.

“Andrew’s strike was absolutely fantastic. After that we were defensively sound. I don’t think Johnny Tuffey had a save to make. It could have been more than three at the finish, but that would have been really unfair on Dungannon.”

Swifts manager Darren Murphy had no complaints. “We’ve come here on previous occasions and played worse and maybe nicked at draw at times.

“The big pleasing thing for me was the performance of the young lad in the middle of the park, Chris Lowe - I thought he was exceptional.

“He’s only 17 but was up against the experience of Michael Gault and Philip Lowry and he gave them a hard time.

“I was disappointed with the goals we conceded. Yes, Waterworth’s effort was a fantastic strike, but the other two were poor.”