Sunday 18 August 2019

Dundalk boss Perth upbeat ahead of €1.7m showdown


Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Dundalk head coach Vinny Perth. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Dundalk boss Vinny Perth says that his group are dreaming big and have no interest in moral victories ahead of a massive €1.7m challenge in Azerbaijan.

The League of Ireland champions are locked at 1-1 with Qarabag ahead of their Champions League second-round qualifier in Baku.

Qarabag fancy their chances of getting the job done on home turf and Perth acknowledges they are one of the best sides that Dundalk have faced in European competition.

The Champions League is the promised land, but Dundalk know they will be dropped into the Europa League qualifiers at the penultimate stage if they fall short.

An upset in the Dalga Stadium would push the door open even further, with the Lilywhites focused on emulating their epic 2016 run.

"Moral victories just don't wash with the group," said Perth. "I don't think there is anything wrong with dreaming about being in the group stage of the Champions League or Europa League. The football gurus tell you to just focus on one game at a time but I wanted them in January training to be thinking of these European nights and the group stages.

"We shouldn't undersell ourselves. We should have the belief that we can go to these venues and win. We have a bit of work to do, as a league, to be there on a constant basis but we should be dreaming of that and striving for that."

If Dundalk get through this game, they will face Cypriot side APOEL Nicosia in the third round of the Champions League.

Should they lose out, they will face Slovakian top dogs Slovan Bratislava in the third round of the Europa League qualifiers.

Irish Independent

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