Football/Soccer

Tommy Breslin will try to take the stress out of Cliftonville players

Tommy Breslin says he hasn't missed the game since he's been away

INTERIM boss Tommy Breslin says he will try to “take the stress” out of Cliftonville ranks as they go in search of a Europa League qualifying berth.

Last Friday, the Reds were rocked by the news that Gerard Lyttle had departed to take the Sligo Rovers job, although the former midfielder had offered to remain at Solitude until the end of the season.

Both Breslin and assistant Peter Murray answered the club's SOS call and they could be in charge for a maximum of three games as they will be in the Europa League play-off shake-up.

“The team has changed a lot since I was last there,” said Breslin, who stepped down in August 2015 after winning back-to-back league titles.

“It's not that you have a whole pre-season to work with the players or you have a trip away to get to know the players. It's a couple of matches.

“I'm not going to get the players any fitter, I'm not going to increase their technical ability, it's really just about man-managing them and seeing how it goes.

“It's about trying to lift them up, get them playing with confidence and trying to get something extra out of them...

“We'll have a bit of a laugh, take the stress out of it and if it works out, great and if it doesn't, it doesn't.”

Breslin has attended only a handful of Irish League games since his exit 20 months ago and has no intentions of going back into full-time management.

“I haven't missed it at all. I go down to a wee local club and take a couple of kids' teams for a bit of training and I'm back in the house for eight o'clock.

“I'm not worried about who's playing or who's not training. I'm very busy with work and I've enjoyed my time away from it.”

Breslin also backed Lyttle's move to Sligo Rovers.

“I actually spoke to ‘Skin' last night before Gerard [Lawlor] spoke to me. I just wanted to wish him all the best.

“I brought Skin in as first team coach and I've a lot of time for him. Our successes were down to all of us. It was never about me. Now 'Skin' has gone into a full-time job and why would he not?

“I said I would go down and see him some time. It's going to be a tough ask for him but he works hard, he's very knowledgeable about football and he is very keen to use modern methods, so hopefully things work out for him.”

Four Irish League clubs will do battle for the last remaining Europa League berth. The semi-final play-off fixtures have been provisionally scheduled for Tuesday, May 9 ahead of the decider on Saturday May 13.

Should the Reds secure fourth place in the standings, they would be at home to Dungannon Swifts in the play-offs, or in the event of finishing fifth they will meet Glenavon at Solitude.

Meanwhile, Mal Donaghy, trusted assistant to Lyttle during his 20-month reign, has left the club.

Football/Soccer

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