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Thursday 2 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Evan Treacy/INPHO Shelbourne manager Damien Duff pictured on the touchline during their game with UCD.
# standards
'Ah, Mondays, f***ing hell' - Duff unhappy after 'flat night'
The former Ireland international saw his side play out an uninspired 1-1 draw with UCD.

“AH, MONDAYS, fucking hell!”

Suffice it to say Damien Duff was not impressed with Shelbourne’s latest showing against UCD.

The former Irish international saw his side play out on an uninspired 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened UCD on Monday, having produced a more impressive display to achieve the same outcome against second-place Derry on Friday night.

It has generally been an encouraging season for Duff in his debut campaign as a League of Ireland manager.

After earning promotion last year, Shels have comfortably avoided relegation and sit seventh with two games to play, while the 43-year-old has guided the club to a first FAI Cup final since 2011.

Yet former Chelsea and Blackburn star Duff does not like to see standards slip, which is what he believes happened earlier this week.

“A flat night you would say, which the guys were warned about,” he told reporters after the match.

 “But it was flat and devoid of any real energy or enthusiasm to win the game and ideas to win the game.”

Asked whether it was a hangover from the long trip to Derry last Friday, the coach elaborated on his frustrations: “I don’t accept that.

“Everyone talks about Mondays in Ireland. Everything is a slog on a Monday.

“We played Friday, Oh, we’ve to go again Monday.

“[But] that’s what elite football is.

“Look at England, look at Christmas, look at the Champions League. You play three games a week all year.

“I’m not aiming that at the lads, I’m aiming that at the league.

“You’re playing again Monday. You’re fit guys, get on with it.

“So, I don’t accept that as an excuse that Monday night was a hangover from Derry.”

He continued: “Every other league in the world does it. So, why can’t we?

“I hate that mentality. And it’s not aiming it at the lads. I hate it from the league.”

On whether the lower attendance on average that come out to see Monday games were a factor, Duff added: “But that’s enthusiasm to play football. ‘Ah, the crowd isn’t here.’ That’s when you motivate yourself.

“I hate the Monday thing and I’m glad it’s not just me, that you [the media] are on it and it’s spoken about because it’s ridiculous. Ridiculous.”

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Duff added that his players had been largely “outstanding” this season and that Monday night was an “outlier”.

There is little to play for in the remaining two league games — against Drogheda and St Patrick’s Athletic — aside from the faint prospect of finishing ahead of sixth-place Bohs, who they trail by five points.

But is Duff telling players there are places up for grabs for the FAI Cup final with Derry in order to motivate them ahead of the upcoming fixtures?

“The cup final, everyone keeps talking about it.

“I told them there, they can’t forget about the league. 

“The cup is a bonus. Yes, it will be an amazing day, a spectacle, the pinnacle of the whole season a week after the league.

“The league is the most important thing.

“I’m not even thinking about spots up for grabs or anything. Just go win the game in front of you, it’s as simple as that.”

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