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Belfast Live
Belfast Live
Steven Crawford

We need to do better insists Linfield hat-trick hero Eetu Vertainen

Hat-trick hero Eetu Vertainen says Linfield know they need to improve their record against the teams around them after another convincing victory over a bottom six side on Saturday.

For the second weekend in a row Vertainen bagged himself a treble as the Blues brushed aside basement boys Portadown.

January has been a mixed bag for the reigning champions. As well as putting the Ports to the sword they also swept aside fellow bottom six teams Ballymena United and Glenavon scoring 15 goals in the process.

But it was the complete opposite against the top six sides they faced in the past month.

They recorded a draw with Coleraine and lost to Cliftonville and Crusaders in the league before losing out to Larne on penalties in the county Antrim Shield final.

And in all four games they failed to find the net.

While the Finnish striker is pleased with his recent goal contribution he knows results have to improve against the teams around them.

"I'm happy to get goals of course, goals are important for strikers," said Vertainen.

"Now we need to focus on the top six teams and beat them.

"We need to get goals in those games because we haven't been on top in those games.

"We have looked at the stats for those games and have seen that we haven't been getting the points that we need from those games against the rest of the top six.

"It's one of those things but the next five or six weeks is going to be very important for us and where we end up for the end of the season.

"We just have to keep going. Tuesday night (against Crusaders) wasn't that good for us and everybody knew that.
"It was good to have a response today, especially with the second half performance."

Linfield assistant boss, Ross Oliver, was standing in for David Healy as he completed the final game of his touchline ban, and he agreed with Vertainen's assessment.

Oliver said they did not want to be "flat track bullies" and pointed to this Saturday's Irish Cup tie with Larne as the perfect opportunity to show their qualities.

"One of the things people have to realise is that we're all human beings, we're not robots, we will have off days and struggle to have a bit of form at times," he said.

"It's something we've discussed in the changing room and we have spoken to the players that we don't want to become flat track bullies.

"We know our record against the top six isn't good and we need to improve on it.

"Saturday in the Irish Cup gives us that chance to play against a big team and hopefully improve those results."


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