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‘We just didn't have that x-factor’ – Damien Duff insists break is timely for ‘flat’ Shelbourne

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Shelbourne manager Damien Duff during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division defeat to Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Shelbourne manager Damien Duff during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division defeat to Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Shelbourne manager Damien Duff during the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division defeat to Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Damien Duff admits that the mid-season break has come at the right time for his Shelbourne side as they try to get their injured players out of the medical room and back into the squad.

A four-game winning run for Shels ended with a tame 2-0 loss to Shamrock Rovers on Friday night, Duff alarmed at the soft nature of the Rovers goals, scored in the first half hour with the opening goal in the second minute.

"It's a bit of disbelief, I didn't think it was possible to concede a quicker goal than the home game, that was one minute 32 seconds, it was one minute and two seconds on Friday night, two poor goals to give away and it's always an uphill battle after conceding in Tallaght Stadium after one minute," Duff said.

"We had a lot of dangerous situations, but we just didn't have that x-factor, that spark, that bit of energy, we lacked energy, there was a flatness.

"The lads stuck at it, I am gutted for them, I'm not sure they have given the best version of themselves here, it was down to energy levels and flatness, running on a squad of 12/13 senior players for the last three or four weeks, you strip it all back and it's incredible what they have done. It's a disappointing result, the run is over and we have to start again," he added.

"I don't get carried away, I know people have done with our form, the run, we hadn't done it in 16 years, but before that we lost three on the bounce - away to Finn Harps everyone was fearing the worst, as a player or manager all I have done is keep the head down and work hard, nothing has changed, if we win or lose games.

"In the main it's been good, I love the guys, they are an amazing group, it shows in the performances and the energy, that's half the battle in any league."

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