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First Team News

Stephen Bradley gave this squad update in advance of Sunday’s game at Waterford (3pm kick off):

“We’re really disappointed that we haven’t gone through in Europe. We did enough over the two legs and especially over there we did more than enough to go through. So we’re frustrated but there’s a lot of positives to take for us. The players are really disappointed because they knew they’d played well and they were there for the taking. If we’d taken our chances we’d have gone through. That’s football, you’re going to miss chances.

That’s what happens. We won the game over 90 minutes and did a lot of really good things but sometimes it just doesn’t happen for you. The group overall is disappointed but when you sit down and really think about it there’s so many positives to take from it all. Obviously it was emotional after the game for them, they’ve put a lot into it but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. You don’t get what you deserve all the time and we’ve got to pick ourselves up. But in training this morning it was good to see them in good spirits.
You can’t pick out a standout performance because everyone rose to the occasion and played to their level. When we do that we can match most teams. Sean’s delivery was excellent and it was good goal in term of Dan’s position. We’d talked about it during the week and changed it from the first leg. The way they marked, they left a few spaces in that area so it was good for Dan to recognise it. The supporters were brilliant. The players spoke about it after they came in after the warm up, they said ‘look what’s come to support us’. They believed in us before the game and the players sensed that. It was great to see the amount of support we brought there.

Maybe AIK fans underestimated us but I definitely don’t think their players did.
 From speaking to their staff after last week and to their manager before the game, they knew that it was going to be a really tough game. They respected us. Their goal was different to the one in Tallaght because defensively we were in a really good position. Roberto steps out to make a block and it goes through his leg. It’s small margins, on another day he gets his foot on that and it doesn’t bobble through him. Gavin makes a great save but it hits him and goes in so there’s a bit of fortune in it.
I don’t think tiredness was a big factor in extra time. From speaking to the players after, a lot of their players started to go down with cramp, we had one or two but the majority of our boys were getting stronger as the game went on, the likes of Ronan, Sean and Lee. Obviously both sets of players are going to be tired, they’re playing at a really high level for a long period of time but I don’t think fatigue had anything to do with it.
The players have an hour or two to think about the game and reflect but then we need to focus on the big game against Waterford now. We know it’s going to be a tough game, it’s a big ask for us. But I believe if we play like we did the other night we can cause anyone problems. We know they’re ahead of us in the league and that’s all the motivation we need. We’ll go down there focused and ready to try and win the game.

Win, lose or draw tomorrow there’s still a lot of games to be played. Someone said the same thing to me last year against Derry when we were beaten and were 8 points behind them. It’s a big game and we obviously want to win it and get closer to them. But the season doesn’t end tomorrow. Aside from Sean Boyd and Brandon Miele we’ve a few little knocks that we’ll have to look at again in the morning to see how they progress, so we’re just waiting on them.”