David Healy happy to answer questions in emphatic fashion after Linfield's victory over Cliftonville

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Linfield manager David Healy hailed his players for emphatically answering any questions people had following Friday’s defeat to Coleraine by beating fellow Premiership title contenders Cliftonville 3-0 at Solitude.

The Blues entered the clash with Jim Magilton’s in-form Reds on the back of three league matches without victory after a 2-1 home loss against Dungannon Swifts was followed up by drawing 2-2 with Glenavon and then a shock 3-0 defeat to the Bannsiders.

They halted that run in perfect fashion by ending Cliftonville’s 14-game unbeaten streak to propel themselves right back into the title picture thanks to second-half goals from Kyle McClean, Daniel Finlayson and Chris McKee, and now trail leaders Larne by just one point ahead of the Inver Reds’ weekend clash with Glentoran.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We knew coming into the game that there were a lot of questions needed answering and we've done that tonight,” Healy told the club’s media channel. “I've certainly been answering questions at Linfield from day dot since coming to the club so I'm understanding of the situation we find ourselves in...we're challenging on all fronts so tonight was important.

Daniel Finlayson celebrates scoring Linfield's second goal against Cliftonville. PIC: INPHO/Presseye/Stephen HamiltonDaniel Finlayson celebrates scoring Linfield's second goal against Cliftonville. PIC: INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilton
Daniel Finlayson celebrates scoring Linfield's second goal against Cliftonville. PIC: INPHO/Presseye/Stephen Hamilton

"We find ourselves behind in the league with a couple of results that we've had, but one thing we can't and don't want to be labelled with is no fight or desire and I spoke to the players about that we can be questioned on a lot of things - I don't like that - but the players went and proved with their hard work, energy and 3-0 didn't flatter us tonight...if anything we should have and could have put another one or two in the net.

"We've talked about no lost causes and Rhys (Annett) chased it down and we got the goal from it. Great credit to the players...they would have been stinging from our performance on Friday night so it was important to come here, bottle that frustration and be big and strong.

"We needed to react and respond. Champion people, champion managers, champion players...we've quite a few in the dressing room who have been champions and it's important to take the rough with the smooth."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Linfield are set for a busy month with three matches before the split, starting at home to Ballymena United on Saturday, combined alongside their BetMcLean Cup final against Portadown and Irish Cup quarter-final trip to Institute.

They’ve only lost two of their last 16 matches across competitions and Healy says he tries to not let the emotions of their bid for silverware success impact him or his players.

"I didn't speak too long on Friday because the sense of disappointment is with me,” he added. “I care about the performance, the players, the image of the football club and supporters and I get that there are going to be frustrations at times.

"I stated at the start of the season that with the youthful edge and nature that we have around the squad this year, excluding some of the senior players like (Jamie) Mulgrew, (Chris) Shields, (Matthew) Clarke, (Kirk) Millar, that there's going to be a bit of naivety in the team.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Sometimes it doesn't excuse the mistakes or some of the results we've had, but we're in a business where we need to play well. There has to be a level of understanding and I have that...I'm experienced enough.

"I try not to get too high or too low and, if I can, affect the players to not listen or read some of the rubbish that's said about them."