Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin believes Saturday’s emphatic victory over Glentoran was a sign that his team are beginning to click.
The Reds might have topped the Danske Bank Premiership prior to the weekend’s action, but they had often been unconvincing and were still reeling from shock back-to-back home defeats against Portadown and Coleraine.
Though an away triumph over Ballymena United helped stop that rot, a few questions still remained but Breslin was content that many of them were answered in the display against the Glens.
“As a team and as individuals, we looked to be getting back to the sort of level we know we can compete at,” he explained.
“Maybe there was some kind of hangover from Europe and we had players struggling with niggles here and there, with all of that adding together to stop us from hitting the ground the way we would have liked to.
“We were still getting results but we knew ourselves that performances weren’t what they could have been. There was no great panic over it because we felt things would come good in time, it was just a case of making sure we looked after the basics and the rest would follow.
“We’ve kept things upbeat in training and had two very good sessions last week, where the boys looked sharp and raring to go and they brought that with them into the Glentoran game.”
The champions were in front with only three minutes on the clock when, after holding off the challenge of Stephen McAlorum, striker Liam Boyce exchanged passes with Chris Curran before nudging the ball past Elliott Morris and into the bottom corner.
Boyce and Joe Gormley continued to look menacing and it was no surprise when the duo combined to tee Martin Donnelly up for Cliftonville’s second goal on the stroke of half-time.
Glentoran equalised on 66 minutes through substitute Mark Miskimmin before goals from Boyce – from the penalty spot – and Gormley completed the win.
“I felt that certain players were’t giving it their all for 90 minutes,” Glens boss Eddie Patterson said afterwards.
“I do feel that some big decisions went against us and heads were dropping all over the park.
“But all of that doesn’t excuse that we didn’t perform the way we should have done and, coming on the back of losing to Crusaders last week, we now need to pick ourselves up, regroup, get back on to the training pitch and get ready to go again when Balymena come calling next weekend.”