Moral victories aren’t going to satisfy Institute boss Sean Connor

Institute goalkeeper Paul Wells saves Ryan Currans penalty.
Institute goalkeeper Paul Wells saves Ryan Currans penalty.

Manager Sean Connor believes if Institute can regularly produce a similar level of performance to what they showed at Cliftonville on Saturday, then their Danske Bank Premiership future is bright.

Connor, who was in the dug-out for the first time in a number of years, was pleased with his side’s performance, but quick to point out that no one was ‘patting each other in the back’ after a loss.

“If we continue with that effort and application, we’ll be okay, but it’s the ‘if’,” he insisted.

“Moral victories aren’t enough, we need points and we need our first win as quickly as possible so, yes, today was a moral victory but that’s not going to satisfy me.

“I think we deserved something from the game. I’m not saying we deserved to win but we created more chances than them and I was disappointed by the goal we conceded because we worked on that during the week. It was the only time we let them cross the ball and the movement was good.

“It was a soft goal and everybody is looking at the centre halves but they have got good players who have good movement, so if you stop the ball coming in the movement doesn’t matter. If you stop the cross, they don’t score and we get a point.

Connor did feel the performance was much better than the ’Stute team he watched against Larne seven days previously.

“Anyone that saw the Larne game and then today’s match, it’s like night and day,” he added. “I’m still disappointed we didn’t get a goal but I’m happy with the application and effort. I thought our shape was good and when we changed to three at the back, which we discussed, it went okay.”

’Stute gave youngster Aaron McGurk his first senior start and Connor felt the teenager did well.

“It was either a stroke of madness or a stroke of genius,” he joked.

“I think he did really, really well and had a very positive debut. I don’t think they expected that and I think we played a slightly different formation that what they expected. I think aggression wise, it was different from what they’ll have expected.”

The ex-Dundalk boss, who last week admitted he really enjoyed being back out on the training pitch, felt his experience helped him get the team ready for their trip to Solitude.

“I think because of my experience and the fact I have done it plenty of times before, I was able to quickly prepare them to play this match,” he said.

“For me as an experienced manager, it was easy but I don’t think it’s a particular a good thing to do because I introduced one or two things from my own philosophy this week and I saw it in the performance.

“I only had three training sessions last week and we’ll be better again this week and if we keep doing that, how good can we be in two or three months, that’s what we have got to think about.”