Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey ©INPHO/Jonathan Porter

INTERVIEW: JEFFREY LAYS DOWN RETENTION GAUNTLET TO PLAYERS

Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey has urged his players to hold onto the BetMcLean League Cup after their semi-final victory over Cliftonville on Saturday.

“We spoke to the players, can we hold his trophy and win it again – it was incumbent of us to work so hard for the board, chairman and supporters who are absolutely phenomenal.”

“I was very pleased, given the postponements which wasn’t anything to do with Ballymena United, it was to do with the weather, but it was never a chance that the game should have been taken away from Ballymena having been drawn out first.”

Looking back on their 3-1 victory over Barry Gray’s Cliftonville at the Showgrounds, Jeffrey felt his side stepped up in the second half to the challenge to progress to the final.

“In the first half neither goalkeeper was really tested and as we thought it was really tight. I was pleased with our shape, as we pressed the ball well, we covered well and were very disciplined.

I felt were going to win the game, we had to do better up top and yet again the hard work from training pays off - as we hammer it into the players about following in and Anthony (Kane) has a strike and Bam (Neeson) doesn’t hold and Leroy (Millar) follows it in for 1-0.”

“Thas been some fantastic goals from the halfway line and around that area at the Ballymena Showgrounds from David Cushley and Jonathan McMurray – but not halfway inside your own half! But people talk about Beckham and Rooney, goodness gracious me, what an absolutely fantastic strike by Cathair Friel!”

The final of the BetMcLean League Cup next Saturday at the National Football Stadium, pits the Sky Blues against Dungannon Swifts – a challenge that the United boss is relishing.

“I’m so pleased for the chairman, board and our supporters that we’ve got to another final. Who would have thought it would be Dungannon Swifts v Ballymena United?!”

Rodney McAree knows it’s a game that each of us can win, we’re very much in the mindset that we have to perform on the day against two easily matched teams, but it’s great for local football.

You can now buy tickets for the BetMcLean League Cup final on Ticketmaster – click here to buy now

Tags:  Ballymena United