The stats showed Thursday as an even, competitive game but you felt afterwards that we could have won it?
“Yes, I felt we had the better opportunities to score in the game. So overall, I did think we possibly could have won it.”
How did you think the first half played out, tactically?
“I think it was a high level first half in terms of the tactical battle between both teams. You could see what they were looking to do and you could see what we were looking to do and other than a few moments, we managed the first half really well.”
We flew out of the traps at the start of the second half and could we have easily scored with those three chances in succession, starting with Aaron rounding the keeper?
“I felt the first half gave us the platform to go and create those chances in the second half. We made chances and it was just unfortunate we didn’t take one but we started the second half really well. Obviously if one of those chances goes in, it turns out to be a different game.”
Rory and Dylan nearly scored too in the second half but did Djurgardens come back into it the last 20 minutes and look dangerous?
“Yes, they did. They took control of the last 15 or 20 minutes. For various reasons they took control of the game but didn’t create anything that I can remember, in terms of a really dangerous opportunity. A few crosses into the box and long range shots but nothing of real danger to us.”
Despite a feeling of frustration immediately after the game that we didn’t score, was it a fantastic occasion in Tallaght and important to get a point on the board, the club’s first ever European group stage point?
“I think we have to be careful about everyone’s expectations as a football club. I said afterwards that I was frustrated that we didn’t win it because of the opportunities that we created but we’ve also got to be really happy with a point. It’s the first ever point for the club in Europe and there’s a reason for that. We’re playing against a really good side in group stage football. So we’ve got to understand that it’s a very good point and we move on. Although we were very frustrated afterwards, we’ve got to be careful to not get ahead ourselves and think that we have a divine right to win those type of games. They’re tough games at a good level.”
Justin Ferizaj repaid your faith in him with a superb European performance by someone so young but did you also have one eye on Sunday in terms of squad rotation with the likes of Jack and Rory starting on the bench?
It’s something we’ve done the last couple of years, we’ve changed the team when we’ve had a really busy period. This period will be no different and that’ll be the case between now and the end of the season. It’s about attacking the game in front of you and trying to win it but also looking at the schedule ahead of you and believing that every player in the squad is ready to play. No one that does start makes us weaker so that gives you really good options as a manager. So we’ll see the squad utilised with this fixture list we have coming up.”
Is this an important league game for both clubs, for different reasons, with us wanting to get to get back to winning ways after Bohs, and Harps desperate to avoid automatic relegation?
“It’s a really big games for both clubs. We’ve got to make sure that we’re at our levels that we were on Thursday if we want to go and take maximum points.”
What danger can Harps pose in Tallaght in terms of good players in their team?
“Finn Harps will have the attacking strength that they always bring to any ground. We know Ollie will have them really organised. They’re extremely honest, hard-working players and once you have that you have a chance in any game. So we’ve got to respect that and the fact that they have some quality players, like McWoods and McNamee, and be ready for that.”
Dylan Watts is suspended. Sean Hoare was unfortunate to have to come off very early in the game with injury and Sean Gannon also needed treatment late on. How are they looking for Sunday?
“Sean Gannon is fine but Sean Hoare will probably be 10 days. Richie Towell won’t be available until next week.”