The sporting director of Ferencvaros Tamas Hajnal says the key to progressing through their Europa League playoff with Shamrock Rovers is to be prepared for an ‘unpleasant, British style of physical football.’
Rovers arrived in Budapest on Tuesday night to prepare for the first leg of their meeting with the Hungarian champions.
The winners will advance to the group stages of UEFA’s second tier competition with the losers going into the Europa Conference League.
Stephen Bradley’s side are unlikely to be impressed with Hajnal’s description of their approach given that they believe their success in Europe can be attributed to adopting a more progressive style of play.
However, Hajnal produced a common description of Irish teams in quotes carried by Hungarian media looking ahead to the tie.
“We know that we are the favourites for this match, it will be very important to process this mentally,” he said.
“In the two matches, our goal cannot be other than to reach the group stage of the Europa League.
“We also know that Shamrock Rovers represent an unpleasant, British style of physical football and we have to prepare for that, not get into their style but to make use of our abilities and get into the Europa League group stage.”
Both Ferencvaros and Rovers arrived into this competition after getting knocked out of the Champions League.
Ferencvaros had ambitions of going all the way to the groups there but they were knocked out by Qarabag last week, losing 3-1 at home in the second leg after a draw in Baku raised hopes of progression.
Hajnal says ‘hurt’ still lingers from that and players need to get over the failure and adapt mentally to the task at hands.
Rovers travelled to Hungary via Shannon again with no space at Dublin Airport for their charter flight. They got the bus to Clare after their Tuesday morning training session at their Roadstone base.
They will be taking the same route back after Thursday's game, adding more travel time to their journey ahead of Sunday's important league match with Dundalk.
Stephen Bradley vented his frustration at the situation in Dublin last week, especially as Bulgarian visitors Ludogorets and CSKA Sofia were able to get their charters into the Dublin flight plans.
He was speaking after Rovers' important win in North Macedonia that guarantees them group stage football. Ironically enough, Rovers were able to land in Dublin after that match as fog prevented them from a clear landing in Shannon.
Rovers are already assured of €3.3m with that amount rising to north of €4m if they make the Europa League groups.
Progression to the more glamorous competition would also raise questions about their home venue with both the Aviva Stadium and Tallaght Stadium in the equation.
While it’s thought likely that Tallaght will be passed fit for Conference League games, UEFA do have the power to recommend they play in the Aviva in the Europa League if they decide that requirements such as media and corporate facilities in Dublin 24 are not suitable for the level of fixture.
Discussions are taking place this week with Rovers keen to play their games in Tallaght although a clash with Manchester United or Arsenal in the Europa League would obviously have the potential to alter the mindset.