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Juve fixture will inspire players: O'Neill

SHAMROCK Rovers boss Michael O'Neill believes that the prospect of a meeting with Juventus in the next round of the Europa League will be an incentive and not a burden when they take to the field in Israel tonight.

Rovers will become only the second Irish club to play in Israel when they face Bnei Yehuda in Tel Aviv (6.30), and the winners of that tie will take on the mighty Juve next Thursday.

"The players know the significance of a game like that," O'Neill said. "They know taking part in a game like that would be a major highlight in their careers. We have talked about it briefly. I don't think it will make them anxious or nervous. I think it's there to give them added inspiration.

"We understand the financial benefits that (a win) would bring, the lucrative tie it would bring in the next round."

This morning it was unclear when exactly Rovers may play Juve, as the venues would depend on whether Sporting Fingal also progress in the Europa League. UEFA do not allow two teams from the same city to play at home on the same night.

Juve's website today stated that if Rovers beat Bnei Yehuda, then the first leg would be in Tallaght next week and the return leg on August 5, but if Fingal get through then the ties would be reversed.

"Confidence is high," O'Neill added. "I think we'll get chances and if we can take those, I think we're strong enough at the back to make that count.

"We will have to be very disciplined and focused. In Europe when the ball changes hands, teams can counter quickly, like we saw in Tallaght, and that will be a key factor."

  • Rovers fans in Dublin can watch the game from Israel tonight as the Maldron Hotel in Tallaght, beside the Hoops' home ground, will be showing a live stream of the game.