'What we did tonight is really special, even if I am not surprised' - Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli reacts as Dundalk reach Europa League playoff round

Thu, Sep 24 2020

Dundalk interim first-team boss Filippo Giovagnoli has noted his pride after Dundalk defeated Moldovan kingpins Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League qualifiers this evening.

The Lilywhites scored a penalty-shootout victory over Sheriff in Transnistria with a heroic Gary Rogers helping Giovagnoli’s side to victory.

Dundalk however fell behind after eight minutes – but they were level just before the break after Sean Murray’s found the back of the net.

And despite impressing during much of the second-half and extra-time, Dundalk needed a penalty shootout to see off the Moldovans.

“I am really happy for the players and to be honest I really enjoyed it,” the Italian told Dundalk FC’s media team.

“I trust this group and I am always positive, but they make me trust them with the way they behave and train. For me that’s reassuring.

“We reacted well (after going behind), we didn’t panic and didn’t lose our composure,” he added. “This was the key. Our goalkeeper wasn’t busy really, just with the set-pieces.

“We played well but I think we can do better than that. We’re improving and learning but we will do better than that.”

And despite going behind, Giovagnoli was proud of his side’s efforts, especially after going behind.

“I think we managed the game well because you can’t forget that this team is really strong. It’s a huge club that are really rich with a lot of players that make a lot of money.

“What we did tonight is really special even if I am not surprised,” he said. “There was a good atmosphere there, they were asking me to kick penalties! They were crazy!

“Chris Shields told me, ‘can you please fucking let me take a penalty’. I said ‘ok’, ‘the fifth one’. He was crazy! He told me after, ‘I told you, why don’t you trust me?”

However, the Dundalk supremo is not letting his mind wander to think about their next European assignment, as he is only looking at preparing for their home league game against Shamrock Rovers at Oriel Park on Sunday evening.

“I have to stay focused because it’s a really important league game and we want to do well,” he finished.

“I have players ready for this game and ready to perform so we’re going to prepare for this game.

“On Monday we will prepare for the other game. We have to respect, not panic and do what we have to do.”