Friday 14 December 2018

'We know Rosenborg's threats but that doesn't mean we can stop them' - Stephen Kenny

Manager of Dundalk Stephen Kenny during a press conference at Oriel Park, in Dundalk, Co. Louth. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Manager of Dundalk Stephen Kenny during a press conference at Oriel Park, in Dundalk, Co. Louth. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

STEPHEN KENNY knows that his Dundalk side have to succeed where teams in Norway have failed by stopping Rosenborg in their Champions League tie at Oriel Park tomorrow.

Dundalk start their European campaign against the back to back double winners from Norway that have started to dominate domestically again after a ropey couple of years.

The League of Ireland champions are the underdogs heading into the first leg, although optimism levels are high after their run in Europe last term.

Kenny has studied Rosenborg intently and noted their ability to hurt teams with runners from midfield supporting marquee name Nicklas Bendtner. But he acknowledges that doing the homework doesn't necessarily mean that his charges will be successful in their mission.

 "Even though you know what's coming, it's difficult to stop," said Kenny today.  "The fact they are double double champions, it's clear other teams have made provisions and haven't been able to stop them.

"All of their players are immensely disciplined tactically. In other teams, midfield want to go towards the ball and get hold of the ball but sometimes their advanced midfielders don't touch the ball for periods of the game. But then they become very effective.

"They've a very experienced group of players - not many young players - the vast majority of their players have either been capped by Norway or Denmark. We respect that, we respect their expectations are to get through to the group stages but, from our point of view, that's nothing new to us. We've faced some great European clubs before and that doesn't mean we don't have a chance. We trust ourselves."

Dundalk are able to play this round of the competition at their Oriel Park and that means a lot to Kenny, even though it restricts the capacity to just over 3,000 due to all seater regulations.

"We probably could have sold double the amount, but that's where we are as a club," he says, with a nod to the need to improve their facilities.

"It's disappointing. But it's great to have a Champions League tie in Dundalk. Oriel Park is the soul of the club and it's great to have it here for people in the locality."

Kenny's star midfielder Patrick McEleney was today given a boost ahead of the game after he was named Airtricity/Soccer Writers Player of the Month for June.

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