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Create expectations

Paddy McLaughlin admits Cliftonville’s failure to create chances cost them dearly in yesterday’s draw with Dungannon Swifts – and took no comfort from results elsewhere in the Danske Bank Premiership.

After responding to Douglas Wilson’s opener by hitting back through Joe Gormley, the Reds failed to ignite and never looked like finding a winner although they did go close in the depths of injury-time when Gormley fizzed a ball across the face of goal that neither Calvin McCurry nor Conor McMenamin could make the most of.

“We need to be creating more if we want to win games of football,” admitted McLaughlin.

“With the firepower we have, we should nearly be creating a chance with every attack. That hasn’t been happening for us and it’s something we need to work on and it’s something we will work on, most definitely.

“It was a frustrating game all round for us. We’ve conceded a cheap goal and, though we’ve equalised pretty quickly afterwards, we never forced their keeper to make any saves.

“Dungannon have played well and deserve the credit for that but, especially at Solitude, we need to be performing better than we have done.”

The result leaves the Reds six points off the table’s summit and, though two fellow top five sides lost on the day, the Manager was in no mood to accentuate even minor positives.

“You can’t hide behind things that have happened elsewhere,” he said.

“It’s a crazy League with a lot of unpredictable results and I’m not sure too many people would have fancied Crusaders to lose or Glentoran to get beat at home so, yes, you could say we’ve gained a point on both of them but, whatever angle you look at it from, it doesn’t change the fact we’ve dropped two points here. You can’t hide from that and we won’t try to.

“We’ve set ourselves targets right throughout the season about being in touch at the top come Christmas time, then through the New Year and then come the split. We’re still up there but results like this don’t help our case and you can’t look five or six weeks down the line and say ‘we’ve still got to play them and we can pick points up here’, because it’s here and now that matters.

“We’ll pick ourselves up and go again, I know we will. There will be more twists and turns to come but when you’re up there trying to put in a challenge, winning your home games is so important and that’s where the frustration comes from for us.”