Mark Haughey programme article

Posted : 7th April 2018

Linfield defender Mark Haughey says he is hoping that the frustration of how this season has panned out can be used as extra motivation in the post league split games and potential European play-offs as the Blues aim to secure UEFA Europa League qualification.

Speaking to ‘Look at Linfield’, the Newry man said he was determined to secure a place with the extra incentive of testing himself against top quality opposition and why wouldn’t he after the unforgettable experience of going toe-to-toe with Celtic last summer.

“I think we should be finishing as high up the table as we can. We are all disappointed how this season has turned out in comparison to last season but our aim now is to secure the club' entry into Europe. For part time footballers, to get the chance to play in either the Europa League or in the Champions League is a huge incentive, playing all over Europe and against quality opposition. Like I had said previously, our aim is now solely to make sure the club gets into Europe.”

Haughey felt that the recent Irish Cup tie against Cliftonville summed up the season, with the Blues dominating most of the game but failing to failing to make the breakthrough, before Cliftonville struck a late winner. As many others have said, the 27 year-old says this season has hurt him and his teammates and they’re determined to put things right.

“We all know as a group and as a club we have underachieved so far this season, so it is extra motivation to put things right coming into the split fixtures now. The more recent games you could say sum up our season. I thought against Cliftonville in the Irish Cup was our best team performance of the season but we still lost the game and were put out. The draw against Glentoran was similar. It was another game I felt we deserved to win.

I’m not sure what to put it down to, whether it’s bad luck or just the cruel nature of football but this season has hurt us all as players and as a group.”

It’s not all bad for the big defender, however. Haughey has had a prolific season in front of goal and is currently Linfield’s second highest goalscorer with eight goals this season. The modest defender says that means little to him, though, as the team come first and foremost and from that perspective, the season has been a frustrating one and typically, like all defenders, he wants more clean sheets.

“This season for me on a personal level has been quite frustrating, simply because it’s a team game and as a team we have underachieved. Yes, I have scored a number of goals this season but as a defender we want clean sheets and to concede less, which I don’t think we have done as well this season, compared to last year.”

Best wishes to Mark and his teammates for the remainder of the season, as they aim to secure European Qualification and no doubt, the Linfield supporters will hope to see the big defender continue to chip in with the goals, with some crucial matches to come between now and the end of the season.
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