Friday 27 April 2018

Long backing for Pellegrino after goal drought ends

Shane Long. Photo: Getty Images
Shane Long. Photo: Getty Images
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Shane Long has admitted his relief at putting an end to his barren spell.

But the gloss was taken off his return to the scoresheet on Tuesday by a second-half Southampton collapse that has piled the pressure on manager Mauricio Pellegrino.

Long put the Saints ahead against Crystal Palace with his first goal since last February, but the visitors bounced back to take the three points and leave Pellegrino's men 17th in the table.

Fans vented their anger in the aftermath, yet Long says players have to take their share of the blame.

"We know it is frustrating for the fans but we need them more than ever," said the 30-year-old.

"It's on the players' heads as well. We cannot put it on the manager, everyone has to take a bit of the blame. Confidence is low and the sooner the win comes the better."

The Irish striker is delighted his own dry patch is over.

"I'm an experienced player," he said. "It's hard not to let it get on top of you when you're not scoring, but I just kept plugging away.

"It's nice to see it hit the back of the net, but frustrating it didn't get us three points. It is nice to get it off my back and hopefully I can kick on from here on in."

At home, three young players with well-known siblings kicked off the New Year by signing new deals.

Brother

Waterford have signed Rory Feely - the younger brother of Kildare Gaelic football star Kevin - from St Patrick's Athletic. Feely's older brother came back to GAA after leaving the football business in England, but Rory - who is also a talented GAA performer - is keen to continue his development in the League of Ireland.

"I worked with (manager) Alan Reynolds at St Pat's and enjoyed the way he works so when there was interest shown I was very happy to join," said Feely.

Galway United have signed promising teenager Ronan Manning to help with their promotion push.

Manning's older brother Ryan helped Galway to get out of the First Division in 2014 before joining QPR and there are high hopes that Ronan will prove as successful.

The 17-year-old was on the fringes of Shane Keegan's first-team squad last year.

"We waited for Ronan to finish his school year before properly bringing him into the group," said Keegan.

"To be honest, he blew the socks off everyone. The sky is the limit for Ronan, the only thing that can stop him is if he gets carried away with himself."

Meanwhile, Derry City have signed Ronan Hale on loan from Birmingham until June. He will join his brother Rory who signed after leaving Galway when they were relegated.

Irish Independent

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