Cork City manger John Caulfield urges his side to counter-attack and find a precious away goal
FACING up to Belgian side Racing Genk in Belgium tonight is about the biggest test of his managerial career for John Caulfield.
But the Cork City manager is not daunted by the prospect of taking on a Genk outfit who have made the group stages of European competition three times in the last five seasons, Cork drawing confidence of their defeat of a highly-rated Swedish side in the last round.
"I said to the players walking off the pitch against Hacken last week: that's going to live on in your memories, the noise levels, the crowd, the cheer and the roar from everyone who could see how good the other team were, it was a night for the underdog and that builds its own internal confidence," says Caulfield ahead of the first leg in Genk (7pm Irish time).
"We have done work on how we can score, but we're not naive and we know that they will dominate the game and have lots of possession, we have to be ready to counter-attack when we can do that. It's not like we are thinking 'we'll come over here and get a 1-0 defeat', we're thinking: can we score?"
Caulfield, as a manager, and Cork, as a club, would not usually adopt a defeatist attitude but having watched Dundalk lose 'only' 1-0 away to BATE Borisov earlier this week, the City boss did see lessons.
"Even looking at the Dundalk match the other night, backs against the wall but they hung in there, they could have been a couple of goals down, Gary Rogers kept them in the game, and it just shows you. We were looking at it on Tuesday night and we said that if we can get a performance like that, it would be great," added Cauldfield.
"We know we will be up against it and on the back foot but we feel we can cause them trouble on the counter in certain areas, but we have to get the ball to do that.
"When you look at the bigger picture, you think you would [take a 1-0 loss] based on the size of the club that they are. But we went to Hacken, it was 1-1 and we felt disappointed coming off the pitch as we felt we could have won 1-0. So you never know, the underdog always has a chance, you need a lot of things to go right for you, you need to play exceptionally well and for your concentration to be very good, and you need them not to play as well as they can, at least their top players. So I possibly would take that but I am always optimistic and positive."
Cork, who have signed Dave Mulcahy from Bohemians, hope to have Greg Bolger fit,
Genk are likely to bring in their Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo for his first appearance of the season.