DFC | McEleney hails the winning mentality of his Dundalk FC teammates

26-year-old: ’Everybody is obsessed with winning’

Birthday boy Patrick McEleney hailed the mentality of his Dundalk teammates after their win over Derry City on Tuesday night, saying that the Lilywhites are ‘obsessed’ with winning everything in sight.

McEleney and co virtually wrapped up the SSE Airtricity League title with a 3–2 win over the Candy Stripes at Oriel Park. A point from their remaining four games will officially seal title number 13 for the club — just four short of Shamrock Rovers’ haul of 17.

McEleney — who celebrates his 26th birthday today (Wednesday) departed for Oldham Athletic at the end of a disappointing 2017 season which saw Cork City win the league and FAI Cup double.

He made the move back in July and speaking after the win over his hometown club on Tuesday, ‘Fats’ said he noticed a big difference in the mindset of the players on his return.

“When I left last year we finished second in the league and lost to Cork in the FAI Cup final. We won the League Cup but you’re judged here on winning everything. It was a bit of a transition year. We weren’t miles off it but we just weren’t good enough.

“It’s a different animal now,” he continued. “I think last year it was all about regrouping and bedding new players in but there’s a different mentality here now. Everybody is obsessed with winning.

“When new players come in, it’s hard for them to get their heads around the fact that you have to win everything. I was lucky in that I came into a group that was unbelievable and had just won the double so, hopefully, we can all kick on now as a group.”

McEleney’s goal — his first since making the switch back in the summer — was a sweetly struck left-footed effort that whizzed past Ger Doherty and he said he was somewhat relieved to see it hit the back of the net.

“I was putting a bit of pressure on myself because I’ve played a lot of minutes since coming back but haven’t scored. I just made a run into the box and Mickey Duffy found me perfectly. I didn’t even have to look, to be honest. I’m delighted to get it.”

Dundalk went into the break 3–0 up but they were made to sweat it out in the dying stages as Derry grabbed two second-half goals to set up a tense finish.

“We were brilliant in the first-half and we probably got a bit complacent in the second and got punished,” said McEleney. “We planned to start at a high tempo and try and kill the game off. I suppose we half done it but we won’t be looking too much at the second-half.

“The thing was just to get the job done. We set a target for the games against Cork and Derry and we’ve won them both. It’s a bit of a weird one because we’re celebrating even though we’re not champions just yet. We’ll just have to regroup now and get it done against Pat’s next week.”

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