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Linfield vs Floriana: David Healy says only people talking up Blues' chances are those who want club to fail

Belfast Live logo Belfast Live 17/09/2020 Darren Fullerton

Linfield vs Floriana

David Healy says the only people talking up Linfield as runaway favourites against Floriana in the Europa League tonight are those hoping to see the club fail.

Little is known of the Maltese champions, but Healy insists the Irish League kingpins don’t have a god given right to progress to the next round.

He also says last year’s sizzling home win over Qarabag and charge to the playoff stages of the Europa League will count for nothing at Windsor Park.

“Are we favourites? I don’t know and I don’t care,” said Healy. “There’s certainly no complacency from us in terms of preparation. 

“I don’t know why people should start expecting Linfield to simply turn up and win European games, because it’s not something we have done year in, year out.

“We did pretty well in Europe last year but before that no Irish League club had achieved what we achieved last year.

“Other people might think there’s a little bit of complacency, but those people probably don’t support Linfield or care about Linfield.

“They’re maybe trying to add a little bit of extra pressure on us, but certainly there’s no complacency here. The players are ready for a really hard game.”

Linfield, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Legia Warsaw last month, have the advantage of playing at home, albeit behind closed doors.

But Healy suspects Floriana, who have a strong South American influence, will fancy their chances in a one-off game in front of an empty stadium.

“People might be thinking that ‘Linfield got a great draw’, but Floriana will be thinking the same about drawing us,” he said. 

“Like us, they will view it as an opportunity to progress to the next round and I’ve no doubt they'll see it as a winnable tie.”

Like Linfield, Floriana dropped into the second qualifying round of the Europa League after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Cluj of Romania in the Champions League.

“I’ve seen a few of their league games from last year and we also saw their game against Cluj, so we’ve done a little bit of homework on them,” said Healy.

“They have two Brazilian forwards, an Albanian No9 who plays on the left hand side who was their top goalscorer last year and an Argentinian centre back.

“They also have a Maltese international left back and a Nigerian goalkeeper, so they have an international feel to them.

“Are they world renowned players? No. Are we? No. But I see it being a good game. 

“The players are excited by the challenge and as manager I’m looking forward to leading the club out for another European tie.”

The Blues are without winger Kirk MiIlar who is serving a suspension after being sent off against Legia Warsaw in Poland. 

The winners of tonight’s tie, which will be played to a finish, will host either Flora Tallinn (Estonia) or KR Reykjavik (Iceland) in the next round on September 24.

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