Ronnie McFall offered some words of encouragement to David Healy on Saturday as the Linfield manager’s miserable November drew to a close.
Portadown boss McFall was toasting a 2-0 win over the Blues at Shamrock Park courtesy of second half goals from Chris Casement and substitute Marcio Soares.
It saw the Ports go three games unbeaten in the Premiership, while for Linfield it was a fourth consecutive league defeat.
It is the first time in 18 years that the Blues have endured such a miserable run, and another frustrating afternoon for new boss Healy.
Since succeeding Warren Feeney on October 14, Healy’s Blues have won just twice in seven Premiership outings.
November included defeats to Crusaders, Cliftonville, Glenavon and finally Portadown on Saturday.
It has been a baptism of fire for the former Northern Ireland striker, but veteran boss McFall believes the tide will soon turn for the Irish League newcomer.
“It is a tough time for David, but things will click into gear soon for him,” he said.
“This is his first managerial job, and it is a massive one in managing Linfield. He is facing difficult times now, but this will stand him in good stead for the rest of his career.
“It will turn for him. He just has to keep working hard and believing, and he has to put his own stamp on the team.
“He has worked under some of the best managers around, so he can feed off that.
“He has also come in at a time when Linfield have faced some very tough matches, so it was never going to be easy. Crusaders, Cliftonville, Glenavon and ourselves. That’s a tough run.
“He will look at ways of improving things, and he won’t rectify everything in January. It will take time.”
Casement broke the deadlock four minutes after the break, the versatile winger dispatching Ross Redman’s low cross into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal came less than a minute after Redman had cleared Andy Waterworth’s goal-bound effort off his own line.
The points were wrapped up for the Ports when substitute Soares tapped home Gary Twigg’s cross in the dying seconds of the game.
“I thought in matches we played that we were on the wrong end of the fine margins,” McFall said of Portadown’s recent form.
“We played well for parts of games and didn’t take our chances. And then we lost a goal and the confidence dipped.
“The Carrick victory was massive for us. Losing a man and coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2. And we have kicked on from there.
“We have been more like ourselves. We have shown character, especially today.”
Despite falling to a fourth successive defeat, Healy remains confident Linfield’s fortunes will improve in the weeks ahead.
“I went through bad spells as a striker, so I can cope with these situations,” the defiant Blues boss said.
“It hurts me a little bit more, because I am responsible for putting the team out onto the pitch. It hurts when we lose games, especially when people outside of Linfield Football Club love to kick us down.
“They love kicking us when we are down, but Linfield will always recover and rise again. I still believe I am the manager of the biggest club in this country.
“People can beat away at me. They can have a dig at me. I have been beat for 20 years as a footballer.
“I feel disappointed for the players today because I felt we deserved something from the game.
“But I will work hard in every single session and every single game to make sure we get it right.”