Shelbourne manager, Ian Duff, expressed his disappointment with his team’s lackluster performance in the first half of their recent match against Bohemians. Duff was particularly frustrated by the officials’ failure to spot a handball by Bohs midfielder James McManus just before halftime. Despite this, Duff acknowledged that Shels only had themselves to blame for their poor start to the game.
Duff’s frustration was further compounded by an incident that occurred as he walked towards the opposition dressing room after the match. He revealed that an object was thrown at him, prompting him to consider wearing a cap for protection. Reflecting on the incident, Duff quipped, “I want to keep my two eyes. It’s as simple as that but what can you do. It was a euro. They didn’t even throw a two.”
In analyzing the game, Duff emphasized the importance of starting matches strongly. He believed that Shels’ slow start cost them the game against Bohs. Duff felt that his players often left minutes, moments, and even halves of football behind, which he attributed to a mentality issue. He stressed the need for his team to approach every game with the right mindset, especially when facing tough opponents like Bohemians.
The defeat against Bohs also dealt a blow to Shels’ hopes of qualifying for Europe. As last year’s finalists, they now need to secure a top-three finish in the league or hope that one of the teams above them in the table wins the cup. Currently sitting in sixth place, eight points behind third-placed Derry with a game in hand, Shels face an uphill battle to achieve their European ambitions.
Duff openly discussed his desire to bring the club to the European stage and acknowledged that this avenue was now closed. He stressed the importance of not conceding set pieces and leaving halves of football behind, as these factors hinder a team’s chances of winning games at an elite level. Duff drew parallels with the Premier League, highlighting that such mistakes occur even in the highest echelons of football.
Duff admitted that he sometimes struggled to understand his players’ mentality. He mentioned that the team was shown an emotional video before the game, similar to one shown prior to their victory against Bohs in last year’s cup quarter-final. Duff expressed disappointment that his players did not play with the same edge and emotion in the recent match, leaving a half behind and costing them the game.
In conclusion, Duff’s frustrations stemmed from his team’s poor first-half performance and the officials’ failure to spot a handball. He emphasized the importance of starting games strongly and maintaining the right mentality throughout. With their hopes of European qualification now diminished, Shels face an uphill battle to secure a top-three finish in the league or hope for a favorable outcome in the cup. Duff expressed his disappointment with his players’ inconsistency and their tendency to leave crucial moments behind.