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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
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‘We are going to be one hell of a team’ – Ruaidhri Higgins bullish on Derry’s future despite Hoops loss

Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins acknowledges the travelling supporters after the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division defeat to Shamrock Rovers. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ruaidhri Higgins believes the performance of his Derry City side in last night's defeat to Shamrock Rovers proves they are on the way to becoming an 'outstanding' side.

The Candystripes were on top for the majority of the first half and a period of the second but a strong finish from the champions delivered all three points with sub Danny Mandroiu putting Stephen Bradley's charges four clear at the top of the table.

Higgins has been reluctant to talk up his team's chances of a title charge this term. However, he says that the positive approach they brought to the game reflects their progress and, in bullish terms, the 37-year-old laid out where he sees Derry going from here.

They are expected to strengthen in the summer and have also been deprived of the services of headline grabbing winter recruits Michael Duffy and Patrick McEleney - Duffy has yet to play this season whereas McEleney has met with more than one setback.

“We’re going to get there," says Higgins. "I think when you're (a reference to Rovers) bringing Danny Mandroiu, Dylan Watts and Sean Kavanagh off the bench, they have built over a period of time and you can see the fruits of it.

"We plan to build, we are going to be one hell of a team. I don’t think many teams come to Tallaght and play as open, brave and courageous as we’ve played and that’s going to be a feature of the team over the next few years.

"I certainly don’t want to stand on the sideline and watch a negative team. It’s up to other managers what they do but I certainly want to watch a team that play the right way, that excite our supporters and try and play football the right way. That’s only my opinion. We’ll have a go home or away against anybody.

"They (Shamrock Rovers) have got that know-how, back-to-back league champions, they’ve players there who’ve won more than two leagues as well. Listen, we want to close the gap on Shamrock Rovers and I think we have done substantially.

“I’m really, really proud of the performance and I think it’s clear to everybody that we’re coming, we’re coming strong and we’re going to be a good team over the next few years. It's the start of a long journey and hopefully a really successful one.

"We are very clear in how we want to move forward and we know we are going to be an outstanding team. If we keep playing the way we are playing and add that wee bit of ruthlessness we showed in Inchicore (4-0 win v St Pat's), we'll be a very, very good team.

"People want things yesterday but that's not how it works. We want to get there quickly and if we've to bring one or two in the summer, we'll do that. It won't be rash, it won't be reckless, and it has to fit the profile of what we are looking for."

Bradley acknowledged Derry were 'very good' in the opening 45, yet felt that an out of character showing from his side contributed significantly.

"We were really poor with our decision making," he said. "Our decisions were poor, our passing was negative, we weren't aggressive in anything we done and we looked indecisive and they took advantage of it. They were very good. We had a 20 minute spell in the second half where it was a lot more like us.

"The basics were really, really poor in the first half but I thought in the second half we were a lot better at that regard. It wasn't personnel, it was a collective. If you come off the detail against a good side, they will hurt you and the first half they hurt us."

Bradley respects the quality of Derry, yet stopped short of saying they had caused them more problems than any other side.

"I thought Pat's in the President's Cup gave us a real going over," he replied. "Who else? Dundalk weren't bad here and in the first-half Derry were very good tonight.

"It's very early, what is it 15 games in? They have quality so we'll see over the course of the season."

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