Midfielder Aaron Burns admits it’s vital that Linfield follow up last week’s win with another three points when they face Ballinamallard United at Windsor Park on Saturday.
David Healy’s boys ended a horrible sequence of results by grinding out a 1-0 victory against Coleraine, courtesy off a Jimmy Callaher second half strike.
But prior to that, successive defeats against Crusaders, Cliftonville, Glenavon and Portadown over the month of November have left the Blues playing catch-up as they trail Danske Premiership table toppers Crusaders by a whopping 12 points.
“We were glad to see the back of last month,” said Burns. “To say we were relieved to get three points last weekend would be an understatement. It was a battle. Coleraine were the form team going into the game. We basically had to grind out the result.
“The four previous defeats certainly did a lot of damage in terms of our title challenge. We are now quite a bit behind. And, it’s asking a lot for Crusaders to lose four games.
“All we can do is keep the head down and keep working hard.”
Burns insists there is no point in dwelling on the past, adding: “All teams have a blip throughout the course of the season. To be honest, we didn’t deserve anything from the Portadown game, but we were not too far off in the other three.
“Our performances perhaps deserved better. But we were punished for every little mistake. We talked about that and we were determined to cut out the errors against Coleraine.”
Burns was also thrilled for new boss David Healy, who found himself under early pressure since taking over from Warren Feeney,
“We wanted to win it so much for the gaffer,” he added. “It takes time for a new boss to settle in... to make his own stamp on the team.
“Everyone of the boys are behind Davy. Hopefully, the confidence is now back and we can kick on.”
Burns, however, is wary of Whitey Anderson’s Ballinamallard, who have already won at the international venue this season.
“They are a big strong team,” added Burns. “They knocked us out of the League Cup, so we know what to expect. They had a great unbeaten run in October, but have hit a bit of a rocky patch in recent games, but we’ll be giving them our full respect.”
After picking up the manager of the month award for October, Ballinamallard United boss Whitey Anderson all off a sudden can’t buy a victory.
They lost out in a 4-2 thriller against the other half of Belfast’s Big Two, Glentoran, last week and the wily Anderson knows it’s going to be another battle at Windsor.
“I thought we should have taken something from the Glentoran match, but I seem to be saying that every week,” he said.
“We got it back to 2-2 and some may have thought we would have been happy with the point, but I thought we could have went on to win it. I was disappointed with the quality of goals we conceded. They came from wide areas, we didn’t defend properly.”