David Healy keen for Linfield to end Premiership season on winning note before targeting Irish Cup glory

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Linfield manager David Healy admits he wants his side to put their Premiership title disappointment behind them to end the season on a high, starting with today’s final league game against Cliftonville.

Following Monday night’s draw with champions-elect Larne, the Blues are set to narrowly miss out on Gibson Cup glory for the second consecutive campaign, but are still in the running for a cup double in next weekend’s Irish Cup final against the Reds having already collected the BetMcLean Cup after beating Portadown in last month’s showpiece decider.

While admitting this evening’s clash at Windsor Park will likely lack the same intensity of a sold-out clash on May 4, Healy is determined to see a positive performance from his side.

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"We've a big game on Saturday against Cliftonville,” he said. “There will be changes of course but I'll not stand and oversee a performance from the team that is selected without a lack of an edge when we play on Saturday.

Linfield manager David Healy. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker PressLinfield manager David Healy. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Linfield manager David Healy. PIC: David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

"It isn't going to be as high intensity as the three times we've played Cliftonville already this season and not as intense and ferocious as the cup final, but I want my team to go and play on Saturday and to finish the season by winning the game.

"The cup final preparation will start on Monday and we'll have a good full week of training to push to win a League Cup and Irish Cup double."

Linfield have won all three of their league meetings against Cliftonville this season while only concedeing one goal, but went winless in four matches versus Larne (two defeats, two draws) with the Inver Reds three points ahead going into the final match with Coleraine and boasting a significantly superior goal difference – something which has proved crucial.

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The Blues will be able to pinpoint other defining fixtures, such as losing 2-1 at home against Dungannon Swifts having led while they also conceded late goals to draw with both Glenavon and Coleraine in the past two months.

"Throughout the campaign there are really important stages where you have to maximise the points that you can get and we've caught ourselves short by a few and that's why we're not league champions,” added Healy. “The result on Monday isn't a reflection on why we haven't won the league...our general record against the top-six teams has been pretty good.

"When you break it down it's two draws and two defeats against Larne and when you take away the extra points they've gained off us, it's basically where the championship has been decided."

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