Linfield manager David Healy savours win after 'nightmare' 2017-18 season

Linfield lifted the League Cup for the first time since 2008

Linfield boss David Healy has praised his players for their response to a "nightmare" 2017-18 campaign.

On Saturday the Blues defeated Ballymena United 1-0 to lift the League Cup for the first time in 11 years.

Healy's side can extend their lead at the top of the Irish Premiership to nine points by beating the same opposition this week.

Having won a league and cup double two years ago, the Blues were well off the pace in all competitions last season.

"Last year was an absolute nightmare to put it bluntly," said Healy, whose side finished fourth in the Premiership and exited both major cup competitions in the quarter-finals.

"We have not made wholesale changes (to the squad)," he added.

"We've brought a few bodies in but the majority of the players who started today were part of the disappointment of last year and they deserve huge credit for the way they have gone about it this year."

Striker Andrew Waterworth scored the only goal of the game after 15 minutes as Linfield held off sustained Ballymena pressure in the second half to lift the first trophy of the season.

They will have the chance to win another piece of silverware when they take on Crusaders in the Co Antrim Shield final next month.

2016-17 League Cup winners Ballymena have now lost their last three cup finals but remain in contention for silverware in both the league and Irish Cup.

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