Stephen Bradley’s thoughts in advance of the away league game v Cork City today at 4pm:
On last Thursday’s 2-1 win over Apollon Limassol:
“It was another special occasion and European night at Tallaght. I think it had a bit of everything, coming from behind against a team like that and then with such a big crowd it was just a special night again. We’d asked for the fans to come out in their numbers and they did, like they have all year. They were brilliant when Apollon scored the early goal. It didn’t affect us on the pitch and it didn’t affect them off the pitch and it helped the players through it.
We knew what we were up against on Thursday but we believe this team can go and win games and when they play at their level they can beat anyone. It’s a testament to the players’ belief and confidence. We didn’t look rattled after they scored, we were nice and calm. We had a game plan and we played our way back into the game. I think we could have defended the cross better, we had one or two chances to clear it properly but the strike itself was an unbelievable strike and Alan had no chance. Our equaliser is up in the air as to who scored it, it’s a great header by Lee Grace but I’m nearly sure Dan Carr puts it in at the back post. It looks simple from Dan but he’s doing his job, he’s in the position where he’s supposed to be and he gets his reward.
You’re up against a top team and you saw that on the night, they have some very good players. When you’re up against a team like that they’re always going to get spells in the game. But I didn’t think we were ever in any real bother, they had one or two patches but it wasn’t long, sustained periods of pressure. We spoke about it before the game that our delivery is always there and it’s about us hitting our areas and our timing being good. Pico Lopes did that again and it was a great header. It was probably the only place he could have put it. I think Jack Byrne has been brilliant for the last three or four months and obviously on the European stage the standard of opposition goes up so that shows how good he’s been even more.
You probably would have taken 2-1 before the game but when we scored the second goal I felt they were there for the taking, that we could go and get another one or two. Lee hit the crossbar and Aaron Greene had a difficult chance to be fair but they were chances to go and increase our advantage. In the last five minutes they had some pressure and put some balls in the box but we were really calm again and just did our jobs in seeing out the game.
We know it’s only half-time and that they’re a very good side. But like we did before the game on Thursday we feel we can go and win it in Cyprus next week.”
On today’s game in Cork:
“The players very quickly put the Apollon game to bed, they have been brilliant at that all year, moving on to the next task. You have to enjoy Thursday because they’re special nights and the players did enjoy it but then it’s about refocusing on what will be a difficult game in Cork. I don’t think it matters too much where Cork are in the table, Turner’s Cross is a difficult venue to go to. They still have some very good players within that team. All we can do is concentrate on what we do well and put in a performance. If you do that, hopefully the result comes.”
“We’ve a few knocks from the other night that we’ll have to have a look at in training. Aaron McEneff got a bang, Sean Kavanagh and Joey O’Brien got knocks as well so there’s a few to look at before we make any decisions.”