Christy Manzinga programme article

Posted : 22nd July 2021

Having scored on his European debut against Tre Fiori last year, Christy Manzinga’s second European goal two weeks ago against Zalgiris Vilnius in Lithuania saw him overtake a number of players on Linfield’s list of all-time European goalscorers and he knows another one would put him into the top ten. Speaking to ‘Look at Linfield’ at the weekend, the French striker said he is determined to put himself up there alongside some Linfield greats, with Andy Waterworth leading the way with seven goals.

“It’s always nice to score but it wasn’t an amazing feeling because you only get that when you win. Ultimately, the goal meant nothing as we lost. When you are a striker, you want to score as many goals as possible. Looking at the list of Linfield’s all-time leading goalscorers in Europe, it gives me huge motivation. You don’t think about these things all the time but deep inside, it is an objective to try and put yourself up with the greats. You want to make sure you're remembered.”

His goal came in a 3-1 defeat in Vilnius, and then the Blues exited the Champions League Qualifiers with a 2-1 defeat in the home leg last week, and Christy says the goal didn’t take away from the disappointment at the result. On a positive note, last week brought the return of Linfield supporters and it meant a lot to Christy who didn’t get to see much of them in his first season.

“Zalgiris are a good team but I thought they were beatable. As the gaffer said, it’s about believing and I think we maybe didn’t show enough belief. At the same time, there’s been a lot of change with a lot of players coming and going and we only had two weeks off and then to get back in and prepare. We just need to accept it now and keep working hard to try and get something from the Conference League match.

“The fans give me huge motivation. Because of coronavirus last year, we didn’t have fans and when we did it was small numbers. To see them back against Zalgiris at home was just unbelievable! I’m looking forward to having more of that and hopefully even more in soon. It was a special moment having fans back, I really loved it.”

Looking ahead to the match against Bosnian champions Borac Banja Luka, the former Motherwell striker expects a tough game.

"I don’t really think about matches until the day before, but I can already say I really want to play and to try and impress people. The objective is to win the game. I really want to win, although I am expecting a tough game because it is never easy in Europe. However, I believe we are good enough to do it and we will give our best to try and win."

Having signed last summer, this is Manzinga's second season at the club. On the pitch, things didn't really happen for him last season. He was injured for four months after scoring in Europe, then suspended, followed by further injuries and other factors which meant he couldn't nail down a place in the team. He made 21 appearances last season - 17 of which were off the bench- scoring 3 goals and assisting four. The striker is desperate to put that right this season, with a bit of luck.

"I think confidence is massive. I can’t say that my confidence is at 100 percent, but I am feeling really good game after game now that I have had a run of games. I speak with the manager a lot and I want to repay his faith for all his belief in me. My confidence isn’t 100 percent because last year I didn’t play that much, but I feel the confidence coming back to me now. I am really happy now how things are going and I just want to keep working and to show the manager the rewards for his belief in me.

"Having a season like I did last season is really tough, especially for a striker because you’re not really playing, injuries, suspension, and it was also my first year at the club trying to settle in, so it was really frustrating. I am moving forward now, it’s a new season and I’m just trying to forget about last season, it’s in the past now. It’s a new season, so a new mindset for me. I want to be the best that I can be to help my teammates and the club
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