Former Northern Ireland striker Warren Feeney was a surprise choice to succeed David Jeffrey, who in April stepped down after 17 years as manager of Linfield FC – the most high-profile club job in the country.
The fact the 33-year-old's only previous coaching experience was as assistant manager with Salisbury City FC in England's fifth tier attracted some scrutiny, but Feeney made a buoyant start to his reign with a 2-1 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round away win against B36 Tórshavn thanks to Michael Carvill's strike two minutes from time.
"I was delighted to get my first competitive victory as Linfield manager," admitted Feeney, whose playing career took him to clubs in England, Scotland and Wales. "I've really enjoyed my first few weeks as a manager and I am driven to do my very best for Linfield Football Club. I'm a boyhood Linfield fan and while you never know what's around the corner in football, I hope to have a long managerial career here.
"I'm well aware there have been some negative comments from some people calling me a rookie manager and so on, but you'll always get that, particularly nowadays with social media," he added with a shrug. "When I first went to England as a young player, people said I wasn't experienced enough or I wasn't strong enough. It drove me on. I remember looking at other players in my position and thinking: 'It's you or me.' I was determined to prove myself and I have always had a strong focus on what I want to do."
The 51-time Northern Irish champions have the edge from the first leg in the Faroe Islands, but Feeney is taking nothing for granted ahead of Tuesday's return fixture. Linfield do not begin their domestic campaign until 9 August, and game is being played at Glenavon FC's home in Lurgan, Mourneview Park, due to ongoing redevelopment work at Windsor Park.
"It'll be tough because B36 are in the middle of their season and we are still only a couple of weeks into our pre-season," Feeney explained. "We're under no illusions and it will be a test, but we have a huge incentive to progress to the next round."
An attractive tie with Sweden's AIK Solna is at stake so the temptation might be for Linfield to adopt a more conservative approach on Tuesday. Feeney does not see it that way. "The aim is to repeat the kind of performance we saw in the Faroes," he said. "We played some nice football over there and we'll try to impose ourselves in a similar manner in this game.
"There is no pressure on B36 heading into this leg," he added. "It's all on us, but we can't accept second best now. We have to see the job through."
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