Short-term scares part of David Healy’s latest Linfield evolution

Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.
Linfield manager David Healy. Pic by Pacemaker.
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David Healy is willing to suffer a few scares as part of the continued evolution of his ‘brave’ Linfield squad.

The derby drama of Kirk Millar’s last-gasp goal sparked a race along the touchline in celebration by Linfield boss Healy to join in the joy with his players.

However, it is a case of planning over passion for Healy as he strives to maximise the Blues’ quality.

“The way the players kept going, they didn’t sway and change how we wanted to play by pumping long balls,” said Healy. “Even at the end, when the ball falls to Mark Stafford he had the composure to lay it off to Kirk Millar, who had the composure to take a touch as the first shot would probably have been blocked.

“Huge credit must go to the players as they kept on going.

“But you are always hoping for that one opportunity and it came in the 87th minute for a massive, massive goal.

“I think it says a lot about this brave group.

“When all hell is going on around you at times, it can be easy to go away from what we practice.

“It shows a bravery to give numerous balls away but trust it is part of the process.

“We are probably going to give goals away this year by over-playing in certain areas but I trust the players to be good enough.

“We work a lot on possession to make sure the players are comfortable to do what we want when it comes to matchday.”

Healy was keen for the defensive resolve on display to share the spotlight with the decisive goal.

“That’s two clean sheets, against Cliftonville and Glentoran, over the past two weeks - two teams who have started the season well by scoring goals,” said Healy. “We’ve gone, minus Josh Robinson, to the back four we had last year with Niall Quinn, Chris Casement, Mark Stafford and Jimmy Callacher.

“Mark understands his role and what he needs to do when playing.

“At the start of the season his mind was maybe telling him he was only going to be here another year given his age but I wasn’t telling him that and we manage ‘Staff’ during the week in terms of training and games.

“He’s been probably the most improved player in my time here. He always played with his heart but has become a better defender.

“I thought we were the best team, for large parts we played the best football and we were deserved winners.

“There were so many times we got down the side, especially in the first half, but never really created the golden opportunity.

“We were running over the top in stages with our build-up play in the first half but then made the wrong decision in the final third.”