David Healy gets desired impact from having a go at Linfield players
Danske Bank Premiership: Linfield 2 Glenavon 0
LINFIELD manager David Healy admitted he “had a go” at his players at half-time in Saturday's game against Glenavon – and it had the desired effect as the Blues scored two second-half goals to go three points clear at the top of Danske Bank Premiership.
Linfield struggled to break Gary Hamilton's men down at Windsor Park and, while Stephen Fallon forced a fine save from James Taylor, it was Glenavon who had the best chance to open the scoring in the first-half when Robert Garrett fired inches wide of Chris Johns' right-hand post having taken a Conor McCloskey cross in his path before turning past the home defence.
The Blues' perseverance paid off, however, as second-half goals from Christy Manzinga and Chris McKee broke the Lurgan side's resistance to make it four wins from the last five in the league.
“We're happy to get the three points, the performance was okay against a stubborn, hardworking, organised Glenavon side,” said Healy.
“We put a lot of hard work into the way we wanted to play against Glenavon. I think we got little bits, we got the goal out of little bits that we talked about and it was an important goal by Christy.
“It was a tough game, which has to be expected, after another tough game against Ballymena last week. We knew coming into the match that Glenavon are probably one of the most unpredictable teams in the league.
“They did change because normally, to Gary's credit and his staff's credit, they normally play a 4-4-2, but for large periods of the game today they were a 4-3-3 and they limited us in terms of what we wanted to do. I think we had some little bits of joy but probably not enough.
“I had a go at the players at half-time because I thought, in terms of our level, we were short in the first-half. I don't think we got the ball and moved it and were sharp enough and quick enough, if anything we looked a wee bit leggy. But we came out with renewed adrenalin from half-time.”
Linfield travel to Solitude tomorrow night to take on Cliftonville in a game which could have a big say in the eventual destination of the title, and the Blues boss knows it won't be a quiet night.
“It's a tough venue to go to, we were up there recently in the County Antrim [Shield] game, albeit with probably a mixed team and we ended up playing pretty well and getting through,” Healy added.
“But we've been up there before and the atmosphere's really good, they're going really well, we had people down at the game in Larne on Friday and they [Cliftonville] were fully deserving of the three points, based on their hard work, their honesty. They have a little bit of quality of course and they're well managed by Paddy [McLaughlin] so we expect a really tough game on Tuesday night.”
Elsewhere at the weekend, it was confirmed that Matthew Tipton has left the manager's position at Portadown following their 3-1 defeat to Dungannon Swifts.
The Ports have lost three of their last four in the league and Saturday's loss at Stangmore Park leaves them seven points clear of Carrick Rangers and safety.