Wednesday 18 January 2017

Kenny confident Dundalk can keep European fairy-tale going against Russian giants

Published 19/10/2016 | 16:04

Stephen Kenny
Stephen Kenny

Stephen Kenny believes that his Dundalk side can match the tradition and quality of Zenit St Petersburg when the sides clash in the Europa League tomorrow.

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With four points from two games in the group phase to date, Dundalk have enjoyed a good start to the competition but in Zenit, winners of the old UEFA Cup in 2008, they need to raise their game to another level but Kenny feels the Co Louth club can cope.

"We respect all our opponents but we believe in what we are doing ourselves, we have huge respect for our opponents but we don't underestimate ourselves," Kenny said at a pre-match press conference today.

"There will be spells where we are under pressure, where Zenit will show their quality but we have to ride out those situations and show our own quality.

"They have been in the Champions League a lot but so have other teams we played over the last few years, Maccabi Tel Aviv and BATE Borisov.

"Zenit have won this competition which is a stand-out moment in their history and we respect that but it's been an amazing journey over the last few seasons, particularly this season and the players are relishing every moment.

"Now that we are here, once tomorrow night comes, I am sure the crowd will energise the players and we can approach the game with great confidence," added Kenny.

The Dundalk boss  had hinted last week that he would rest players against Zenit to allow them cope with their busy league schedule but, with the league title now all but secured, he can field a strong side tomorrow.

"It's not in my thinking to rest players, we are in a good position, we have four points from the two games, we're privileged to be at this stage of the competition, it's unprecedented for an Irish team to be here at this stage of the season," he said.

Stephen O'Donnell is out of the game while Sean Gannon and John Mountney are major doubts.

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