Linfield boss Warren Feeney warns of complacency ahead of massive Europa test

Linfield's Andy Waterworth and Johan Jacobsen
Linfield's Andy Waterworth and Johan Jacobsen

Linfield boss Warren Feeney has warned his players of complacency ahead of Thursday’s Europa League showdown with FC Spartak Trnava.

The Blues shipped four goals in the Faroe Islands last week en route to a 4-3 defeat to NSI Runavik.

Fortunately for Feeney a 2-0 victory the previous week in Belfast ensured his side progressed 5-4 on aggregate.

The nervy win has set up a second qualifying round tie against Spartak, with the first leg at the ViOn Stadium (7.05pm kick-off BST).

And Feeney admits a repeat of last week’s defensive horror show will bring their European campaign to a shuddering halt.

“We can’t afford a repeat of last week’s defensive display, that’s for sure,” Feeney said.

“If we perform like that against Spartak then we will get picked off. They will make any team pay for their errors, so we need to be switched on from the first minute.

“I don’t criticise individual players. We defend as a team, and the players know what will be expected on Thursday night.”

Feeney believes Linfield will have to adopt a patient approach against Spartak.

The Fortuna Liga side edged past Olimpic Sarajevo on away goals in the first qualifying round.

“They have a couple of Slovakian internationals, so we know what we will be coming up against,” Feeney added.

“Without doubt this will be a bigger test than the Runavik game in the first round.

“They are a full-time outfit and will be looking to make home advantage count.

“It will be a completely different game to the Runavik one. Runavik were quite direct, while Spartak will be very good technically.

“They will enjoy having possession, and we will have to be patient. We have to adapt to spending long periods without the ball. We need to be focused.”

Despite adopting a cautious approach, Feeney is confident Linfield can get on the scoresheet in Slovakia tonight.

“We have goals in our side – we proved that against Runavik,” he said.

“It was great to see the likes of Andy Waterworth and Guy Bates score in the first round. They have started the season well.

“Also Reece Glendinning scoring last week was a positive, and now it is up to the other lads to chip in.

“We have goals in us, but we need to make sure we don’t concede any silly ones.”