Filippo Giovagnoli targets Europa League points as Dundalk’s ‘kamikaze mission’ becomes fairytale

Dundalk manager Filippo Giovagnoli (Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

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Filippo Giovagnoli ‘kamikaze mission’ turned into a fairytale but he opens the book on a new chapter tonight.

Dundalk host Norwegian champions Molde at Tallaght Stadium in the first of their Europa League group games.

And their Italian boss wants to go one better than the club’s 2016 run under Stephen Kenny by beating their four-point haul.

Dundalk are away to Arsenal next week and then have back-to-back games against Austrian powerhouses Rapid Vienna.

Asked what a realistic objective was, Giovagnoli said: “To get points everywhere. To perform, do well and be competitive.

“We want to show everyone that Dundalk deserves to be there and we can perform at a high level. That’s our objective.

“Sometimes when you start a mission, it’s kamikaze. Then you jump into the dream and that becomes normality.

“Now this (group stage) is our normality. We have to perform on this stage.”

Giovagnoli was in bullish form before the playoff clash with KI and also the third round win away to Sheriff, predicting wins on both occasions.

Dundalk interim head coach Filippo Giovagnoli and assistant coach Giuseppe Rossi celebrate Europa League qualification
(Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson)

It was no different last night and he said: “I see them working every day and they’re ready for this difficult task.

“I feel we’re going to have a really important performance and, usually, when we perform well something will happen.

“The players have a winning mentality. When the challenge is raised, they’re even more focused and they raise their level.

“It’s a quality that was already in this squad, we didn’t bring this, this was already here. We’re just facilitators for that.”

Dundalk were far from their best in the 3-1 playoff round win over KI but Giovagnoli put that down to the do-or-die nature of the one-leg tie.

Having qualified for the group, he expects his players will be more relaxed in this environment.

“It’s important that we control our emotions. If you don’t, you’re not going to perform and we want to control the game.

“If you’re not relaxed, it’s going to affect your technique, the accuracy of the pass.  Maybe you can be aggressive, but on the ball you’re not going to perform.”

But Giovagnoli sidestepped a row over the venue with Dundalk playing in Tallaght tonight before reverting to Aviva Stadium for the rest of the campaign.

Dundalk manager Filippo Giovagnoli celebrates the win over KI that qualified Dundalk for the Europa League
(Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson)

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Dundalk were told that Aviva Stadium was unavailable because the Irish rugby team were using it for a kicking session ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Italy.

“For me it’s no difference,” he said. “I know my players are happy to play here (Tallaght). If they feel comfortable to play here, I’m happy too.

“We just hope to do well and make the fans and the town happy because of all the support we are giving us.”

Veröffentlicht am Kategorien Sport