Jordan Stewart programme article

Posted : 10th July 2019

Linfield star Jordan Stewart is under no illusions about the difficulty of the task facing the Blues at Windsor Park tonight, but he assures ‘Look at Linfield’ readers that he and his teammates are prepared to give it ‘a good go’ against the Norwegian champions tonight.

“We’re under no illusions as we know how hard this is going to be. The past few weeks have been all about getting ourselves in the best possible physical condition and if we can pull off an upset tonight, it would be brilliant. Rosenborg will be another step up in quality but stranger things have happened and if you don’t go into it with belief, then there’s no point going out and playing the game really. We’ll see what we can do and hopefully, the supporters can be our 12th man.”

“We were very taken back because we didn’t do too badly against Dinamo Bucharest in our first friendly and they’re a very good side who did very well in the Europa League a few years ago but out in Spain, we more than matched them. Perhaps, the full-time aspect is the difference ultimately, especially when teams have been doing it a lot longer than us. I think that it’ll take full-time clubs in this country a while to catch up. Again, against Motherwell we more than matched them in the first half but we conceded disappointing goals and started to drop deeper. However, we can take positives from the friendlies – they’ll hopefully stand us in good stead and we’ll try and raise the bar again tonight.”

The game against Bucharest he refers to was a behind closed doors game during Linfield’s five-day training camp in Marbellla, Spain and Jordan believes that the camp has been important in terms of preparation for tonight’s match. He firmly believes that sort of full-time training on a regular basis would help take Linfield to the next level.

“The week we spent in Spain was beneficial in terms of fitness and squad bonding, and I think it shows the aspirations of Linfield at the minute. We used the same facility that Liverpool used prior to the Champions League final, putting in double sessions in 27 degrees heat. A few other clubs have gone full time and I think Linfield have the facilities to make it work and it’s great for me to be a part of the Club. We’re largely part-time players who commit a lot. Most of the squad work full time and make big commitments to train three nights a week and you’re often playing two games a week, so it’s a massive commitment to play at Linfield.”

“We’ve definitely got the quality in our team but the difference is the fact that these teams we’re playing are doing it repetitively five days a week, so maybe it’s something Linfield will try and push on with in the near future. Sharpness is everything but if you start dropping off and give these teams more time, they’ll start to take control.”

The former Swindon Town attacker finished by pointing out that, although Linfield have to be alert to Rosenborg’s threats, the Blues also have to play to their own strengths.

“We’ve been trying to work on our own game in pre-season too because it worked well last season and we probably didn’t get the credit for it. There were times last season when we took teams apart, week after week and people were still on our case, even though we wrapped the title up with several games to spare. If we keep doing that this year, we’ll be confident.”

Best wishes to Jordan and his teammates tonight for what promises to be an exciting night of football, as the most prestigious knockout club competition returns to Windsor Park.
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