No secret to post-split success but David Healy backing Linfield recovery
David Healy may have guided Linfield to title glory in three of the past four seasons but accepts not even such celebrated experience can serve up special secrets to success across the Irish League post-split period.
Mourneview Park misery on Saturday evening has left Linfield entering the final five fixtures against top-six rivals with a Danske Bank Premiership lead of seven points.
Healy is backing his Blues to bounce back from the 3-2 defeat and maximise the welcome gap across the closing stages.
A visit to ‘Big Two’ rivals Glentoran this weekend kicks off the post-split run in thrilling fashion - with a seven-point lead at stake alongside the traditional derby plaudits.
“You can only navigate your way across the split - or any part of the league season - by winning games and to control the controllable,” said Healy. “We didn’t take care of our business today.
“When into the split all sorts of strange things can happen...whether it’s beyond any team to win all five games I don’t know.
“But we will be prepared, we will be ready.
“I was disappointed with our overall level of performance...sometimes you can brush over that with a result but you can’t brush over today.
“But the players are aware, it’s one of the most honest groups I’ve worked with and they are disappointed in themselves.
“As poor as we were made to look tonight and as disappointing as it is for me and the players, knowing the group as I do, 99 times out of 100 they respond and react and come back with an even bigger and stronger performance to take us forward.
“We’ve a lot of games coming up...good games...big games.
“We are going into the split and we’ve an advantage - one I would have been hoping after today three points better but it’s still an advantage.
“In this season especially, when still finding our feet in or around Christmas, we of course would have taken that seven-point advantage.”
Healy, however, accepted surprise at what he considered both “a poor display and a poor result” against Glenavon.
“Sometimes you will take a good result over a poor performance but we got neither today,” he said. “We started poorly, gave away a soft first goal, got ourselves back into it then gave away an even softer second goal when we didn’t clear our lines and miskicked it.
“From then on we were chasing the game and I’ve been down here a number of times over previous seasons and Glenavon are the type of team who, if you are a little bit soft, they can find you out.
“What surprised me a little bit today was our lads are battle-hardened...have seen it and done it...but we got hurt today by some basic longer balls and not dealing with the first or second.
“At the end of the game there’s frustration but that’s because we care...those players are always the first to hold their hands up when we’ve under-performed and they did that so we will regroup and refocus.”
GLENAVON: Hyland, Coates (Doyle, 53), Purkis (Douglas, 87), Campbell, Hall (Moorhouse, 75), Snoddy, Harmon, Fitzpatrick, Singleton, Garrett, Ward
Subs (not used): Byrne, O’Connor, J.Doyle, McCaffrey
LINFIELD: Johns, Larkin (Quinn, 33), Haughey, Callacher, Stewart (Manzinga, 61), Millar (Waterworth, 61), Lavery, Clarke, Fallon, Palmer, Cooper
Subs (not used): Moore, Nasseri, Mulgrew, Pepper
Referee: Ian McNabb
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