Sean Ward believes Linfield have mental hurdle to climb before title can be won

LInfield defender Sean Ward
LInfield defender Sean Ward

Defender Sean Ward admits Linfield must overcome any psychological barriers if they are to claim the Premiership title.

The Blues remain in contention as the race for the Gibson Cup intensifies this season.

They currently lie second in the table, six points behind Crusaders with just eight games left.

Warren Feeney’s men have leaked late goals in a number of fixtures this season – goals which have denied them potentially title-winning points.

In their last Premiership outing they lost 2-1 to Portadown after leading for 69 minutes – Sean Mackle scoring an 88th-minute winner for the Ports.

Last month they were two goals to the good against Cliftonville before the champions staged a second half revival to claim a 2-2 draw.

There are other blots on the Blues’ copy book, including injury time goals against Coleraine (1-1 on January 3) and Glentoran (2-2 on November 15) that have dented their title aspirations.

“It isn’t good enough,” Ward said.

“We have lost a lot of points this season in games we should have won.

“We were cruising against Cliftonville but could only manage a 2-2 draw. Some of their players said they hadn’t been battered like that in two years – but we still couldn’t see it out.

“There have been a few other games where we have thrown away match-winning positions, and there seems to be some sort of mental barrier there.

“Maybe there is a bit of naïvety too, but it is something that we will hopefully overcome with time.

“The more this team plays with each other, the better it will become. I am excited about the future because I can see progress being made.

“It is just disappointing the way things have panned out this season.

“We have played well for 45-60 minutes in games, and then we have let nerves get to us a bit.

“At the end of the day, we win as a team and we lose as a team. We aren’t going to start hammering each other when we lose or draw games.

“We have identified the problem and we are working hard to resolve it.

“It will take time, and we are still a work in progress under a new manager. But we are making progress.”