Andrew Mitchell programme article

Posted : 15th September 2018

Linfield’s Andrew Mitchell kept up his brilliant start to the season with another impressive display in midfield and a goal to go with it in last week’s 5-0 win over Warrenpoint, as he blasted home from the spot. Speaking to ‘Look at Linfield’, ‘Mitch’ was delighted with how things panned out.

“Our attitude [against Warrenpoint] was absolutely spot on. All week in training we wanted to put things right after a small blip against Ards [0-0] and I think we did that. We never have it easy at Warrenpoint so it was pleasing. It was good to get a goal but it was about the three points. They changed the goalkeeper just before the penalty which caused a delay but I didn’t change my mind and the practice I put into penalties in training paid off. I practice regularly, both striking the ball and my run-up, so I was prepared and don’t feel the pressure from the spot. “

The former Rangers and Crusaders midfielder says he is loving Linfield’s new 4-2-3-1 system and believes it suits his style of play down to the ground, which has been evident in the opening six weeks of the season.

“I think the new system has made us more solid and we are definitely more compact. It’s working well and I think it also gives the players in attack a lot more freedom. We want that to continue to be the case at both ends and we can only continue to put the work in and hopefully, results will follow. There’s a bit less pressure on me to get forward and I think it’s really showing in my game. I’ve really been able to simplify my game. I think that is my game – to get on the ball and move it on to our attacking players. Having the attacking talent we have makes my job easier and sometimes makes my passes look good!”

Mitchell had a busy summer. The 26 year-old got married to wife Leanne beside Lake Garda in northern Italy at the start of June. He also balances his football with a day job in Screwfix, but still managed to ensure he returned to pre-season ‘fitter and stronger’.

“I knuckled down in pre-season and got my head right. I’ve came back stronger and fitter. I think it has shown in my performances so far. I’ve said it before but we have great midfielders at the club and you’re always looking over your shoulder. That's pushing me on as well - one bad performance and I know I could be out of the team.”

With five clean sheets from six league outings, things are looking good for the Blues who sit top of the Danske Bank Premiership table with 14 points, but the Glengormley man says they won’t be getting carried away, whilst acknowledging that the Blues’ home fortunes need to improve.

“Jimmy and the back four are telling us to keep clean sheets and we have been doing that and building momentum. I know the Ards draw was a wee blip but we still managed a clean sheet. We have been tight at the back. It’s just a case of keeping it going, game by game and not looking too far ahead of ourselves. We're doing that nicely at the moment.

“We have to improve our home record and playing at Windsor this week, it’s important to produce a good performance and result. Hopefully, the crowd can get behind us. Dungannon play the right way and Rodney [McAree] has them playing well after a fantastic season last year. It’s important that we train well again this week and take that into the game.”

Everyone at Linfield hopes that Mitch can maintain his impressive early season form and help the team build on the solid foundations that have been laid in the opening weeks of what's sure to be a closely fought and exciting Premier League campaign.
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