CORK CITY manager John Caulfield was full of praise for the mental strength of his team as the Rebel Army returned to the top of the SSE Airtricty League Premier Division on Monday.
City were 4-2 winners at home to Derry City, goals from Kieran Sadlier and Graham Cummins earning victory after an early 2-0 lead courtesy of a pair of Karl Sheppard strikes had been reeled in.
Caulfield believes that the unity within the league champions’ squad was the catalyst for the late surge to take the win and moved a point ahead of Dundalk.
“It’s about character,” he said, “and I keep saying that that doesn’t happen overnight.
“You’ve players and you’ve management who all work very hard in making sure that we’re always in the game, we always feel that we can score goals.
“At the same time, we are disappointed because our clean-sheet record this year is phenomenal, so it’s disappointing that we conceded.
“They were sloppy goals from our behalf but, at the same time, we showed that bit of resilience at 2-2 on a hot day, on another day you’d drop points.
"Today, the lads got back into the game and finished very strongly and that’s pleasing.”
Before the mid-season break, City have an away game against Sligo Rovers next Saturday before a home clash with Bohemians on Saturday week.
For Caulfield, staying in contention is more important than who holds top spot.
“It doesn’t really matter to us,” he said.
“We’ve two weeks to go until the break, we’ve had a hectic weekend here with Waterford and Derry, two top teams, and we’ve taken six points.
“We just need to be up there at the break, we’re on track for that.
"Whether we’re top or second, it’s only a point or two, it doesn’t really matter.”