Barry Gray says Cliftonville must not be drawn into deviating from the game plan when they face Dungannon Swifts in tomorrow’s Danske Bank Premiership encounter.
The Reds boss was frustrated with aspects of his side’s display in last week’s defeat to Coleraine but, having backed his players to respond positively to that result, believes this weekend’s trip to Stangmore Park presents a fresh opportunity to get back on track.
“We were on a good run of form and the Coleraine game was frustrating for a number of reasons but the key thing for us is that, over the few games prior to that, we had a system and a way of playing that worked for us, so we must get back to that,” he explains.
“It was something we spoke about with the players for a long time and we all worked very hard to put it into practice. The players took it on board, they applied it and they saw that we got results from it, so they’ve every reason to believe they’re capable of getting there again.
“Against Coleraine, we were drawn away from that and ended up being dragged into a style of play that doesn’t work for us. I don’t even really think you could say it was one of those days where Coleraine didn’t allow us to play – it was more a case of us not making the right decisions.
“We’ve spoken to the players about the importance of taking personal responsibility and, to be fair to them, they’ve been working hard and I don’t think anyone could question their attitude.
“Now we go down to a tight pitch at Dungannon to play a team who have their own style, who like to get it down and play, so we’ll need to have a good work-rate and energy about us. It’s going to be a challenge, as it always is for any team down there, but what will help us is if we focus on moving away from last week’s performance and getting back to what we had been doing in the weeks leading up to it.”
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