DAVID HEALY: 'Come the crucial points of last season we had probably run Andy into the ground'

Celebration time for Linfield but disappointment for Warrenpoint Town following the 5-0 success for the high-flying Blues.
Celebration time for Linfield but disappointment for Warrenpoint Town following the 5-0 success for the high-flying Blues.

David Healy cites enhanced quantity and quality as key to Linfield's league-leading start to the Danske Bank Premiership season.

Friday's 5-0 rout of basement-based Warrenpoint Town sent the Blues into top spot in the league standings following an assured performance that increased the unbeaten start to six games and marked a fifth clean sheet.

The away win arrived off the back of a frustrating scoreless home draw to Ards but Healy was happy to highlight the perfect start against Warrenpoint as central to victory achieved off an early Simon Kelly own goal, Daniel Kearns finish, Michael O'Connor effort, Andrew Mitchell penalty and late scoring appearance by substitute Andy Waterworth.

O'Connor and Waterworth each grabbing a goal also proved cause for celebration as Warrenpoint, having lost by 6-1 the previous matchday, suffered another demoralising high-scoring defeat for a struggling squad low in confidence.

"I thought our attitude from start to finish impressed me the most, the way we approached the game," said Healy. "Sometimes, for me personally, when you go to a team having suffered a big defeat the week before you wonder what kind of response will they produce and are we going to be mentally ready?

"From minute one tonight we were sharp and, without being disrespectful, 5-0 certainly did not flatter us.

"Michael O'Connor is a genuine and good player who I love working with, he has all the attributes.

"I was pleased with his goal but also his all-round game.

"Last season we over-used Andy Waterworth probably and we didn't have that same calibre of forwards in so needed him.

"Come the crucial points of last season we had probably run Andy into the ground and did not see the best of him.

"The pleasing thing tonight was Andy came on as a substitute, made an impact and scored a goal, so it gives us good options.

"It is still early days, only six games in so if we are top of the table with six minutes to go then that will be one to look forward to more.

"We went in at half-time 2-0 up but if it had been 5-0 then that would not have flattered us given the attitude and tempo of the players.

"People might say it is only Warrenpoint, a side well-beaten the previous week, but Linfield traditionally coming down here have found it difficult at times and needed late winners."

Stephen McDonnell, Healy's opposite number, had the difficult task of drawing slim positives from another league loss - although a debut display by goalkeeper Aaron McCarey was one clear highlight even if his evening ultimately proved cut short by a red card at 3-0.

"There was a slight improvement tonight on last week but guys are still not actively learning on the pitch," said McDonnell. "We seem to be getting done by the basics, two goals conceded from free-kicks in the first half and we kept on giving away set-pieces over those 45 minutes.

"That's a concern we need to try and address but they are putting in a shift and you cannot question the effort.

"But maybe the confidence is down and any little goal seems to lead to a case of when do we concede the next one?

"We are not firing on all cylinders at the other end either, so that doesn't add up to the best scenario.

"It is up to the group and we are going to have to galvanise and find some inspiration.

"Credit to Linfield, tactically they pinned us in and caused lots of problems, we don't set out to be 4-5-1 but that's what the opposition did to us and they are top of the league for a reason.

"It might have looked like one up top but that certainly was not the plan, more due to Linfield's quality.

"Aaron pulled off some really good saves and you can see the quality, certainly he has shown us what to expect as he made some great saves, spoke well with quality information and commanded the area."