Ruaidhri Higgins vows Derry City attack final 10 league games after cup disappointments
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Sunday's heartbreaking FAI Cup defeat against St. Patrick's Athletic was the second time in less than 72 hours the Candy Stripes departed a cup competition, following Thursday's shoot-out defeat to Tobol in the Europa Conference League. And it's scant consolation Derry dominated both matches, winning one and keeping clean sheets in both.
City currently sit third, five points behind leaders, Shamrock Rovers, but crucially with a game in hand and with the champions due to visit Brandywell on September 15th. And despite those cup setbacks Higgins says the level of recent performances gives every reason for confidence.
"We haven't conceded a goal and we've ended up out of two competitions. It's a hard one to take, but what do you do?" asked the Derry boss, "Do you sit and feel sorry for yourself? We'll do that tonight but then it's back to work.
"We'll get everyone in and remind them of the way we are playing and the run we've been on. We spoke about how big the next 10 games are already in the dressing room and we’ll be fully focused to go and attack those 10 games."
Higgins also hit back at those he said have criticised his squad, stressing the players' desire and professionalism cannot be questioned.
"Our staff do a brilliant job obviously but it is up to the players to carry the message through and, let's be honest, the first half of the season our players have been battered from pillar to post by everyone who was willing to have a wee rattle in the background."I know how committed, how hungry and how driven our players are. It has never been in question, it has never been in doubt. Our professionalism has been seen over the past four days, it has shone through.
"It is professional football, no one ever said it was going to be a bed of roses. We'll face huge challenges now over the next few weeks but I know they are challenges that our players can cope with and come out the other end. When you get knocks like we have in the last few days, your real top end players normally show what they are about and drag the rest of the group with them."We'll need everyone over the next few weeks to see if we can make a push for this."