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Pressure points

Barry Gray says Cliftonville must find a way to battle through the pressure of early-season disappointment.

The Reds’ sluggish start to the campaign continued with yesterday’s 3-1 defeat to Glenavon at Mourneview Park and, as he gears his players up for Tuesday night’s County Antrim Shield clash with Knockbreda, Gray has called for a collective drive for improvement.

“The pressure is on us – we’ve played seven and won two,” he explains. “The pressure is on any Manager, any Club and any team that’s got them stats. We’ve miles to go, everyone can see that and I’m not beating around or making any excuses.

“People talk about patience – it’s not about patience. I’ll do my best to make it better for this week. People won’t see the work that does go on to try and get us where we need to be, unfortunately they are just going to have to trust me.

“We’ve taken a certain level of change that we could in the time that we’ve been here, it needs major, major change even on top of that. We can’t do that overnight; the job has become bigger because performances and results haven’t even been at average, nevermind anything else.

“Supporters are pressured, I’m pressured and the Board’s pressured. Everyone is under pressure because of that and the players are under pressure, whether they feel it or not or whether they are going to do anything about it or not is a big question. Walking out with sad faces on your heads is not enough for me, we can all do that, but my job next week is massive – the same way that it was last week and previous weeks. I won’t shy away from that, I can guarantee you that.”