Saturday afternoon’s match kicks off at 2pm. Tickets available here
It was obviously sickening for the team and staff to concede the third goal in injury time. Was everyone hurting afterwards?
“We were because we felt that at 2-0, the tie was very much still alive in Tallaght but to concede the goal in the manner that we conceded was really disappointing from our point of view.”
Were you encouraged by our second half performances with a lot of positives to take from it until that goal, making it even more frustrating?
“We knew the first half wasn’t anywhere near what we’re capable of. I know they were very good and you have to give them credit as well but we were off the pace and there’s a number of reasons for that. I think in the second half we were a lot better and possibly should have scored, with Sean Hoare from the corner and we’d one or two half chances as well. There were a lot of positives to take from the second half and that makes it even more disappointing that we gave away that goal.”
Did Ludogorets show how good a team they are with the two first half goals and their general play, which wasn’t easy to defend against?
“More their general play. The goals weren’t anything special in that they were really preventable from our point of view. Some of their first half play was really good and showed their quality, which we knew about before the game. They don’t do what they’ve done in the last few years in Europe without being a top side and they showed that throughout the game.”
Is everyone eager to pick ourselves up now with the Drogheda game at home?
“Yes, definitely. We know this Drogheda game is just as important as the Ludogorets game. Everyone will be fully focused and be ready to go and win the game. We’ve said it a number of times, if you want to compete you’ve got to make sure that you come back from Europe and go and win your games, and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.”
Who are Drogheda’s dangerous players in your view?
“We saw from their goal up there [a 1-0 defeat in May] that they attack the ball really well from crosses. Their wingers are direct and like to get crosses in the box, like we saw with the goal we conceded up there so we’ve got to make sure that we’re ready for that.”
Will the extra day recovery help us?
“Hopefully so. We obviously had quite a bit of travelling, so hopefully the extra day will help us but there will be no excuses. We know that if you want to be a top team and compete, you’re going to be playing in Europe, you’re going to be travelling and playing domestic games. That’s all part of it, it’s something that we wanted and we look forward to. It’s something we’ve done the last few years and been very good at, so I don’t see this week being any different.”
Any injuries or suspensions?
“Everyone is OK except that Jack Byrne felt a bit tight the night before the game in Ludogorets and we didn’t take any chances, so we’ll just see how that settles down on Friday.”
Even with Tuesday’s disappointment, with three games in front of our own fans in three different competitions in the space of week, is there certainly plenty to look forward to?
“Of course. One game, one result doesn’t define our season. We know that we have a lot of games in the second part of the season. We’ve put ourselves in a fantastic position, both domestically and in Europe. It’s exactly where you want to be at the start of the season. We’re in a fantastic position and we’re really looking forward to it now with big games every week. We’re fighting on all fronts, which is what we want at this club. It’s a really exciting time to be at this club, for the players, fans, staff and everyone.”