Thursday 17 January 2019

Buckley pledges to go on offensive in bid to defend lead

St Patrick's Athletic manager Liam Buckley. Photo: Sam Barnes
St Patrick's Athletic manager Liam Buckley. Photo: Sam Barnes
David Kelly

David Kelly

St Patrick's Athletic will be amongst fairly familiar surroundings for their Europa League tie tonight - even though they will be away.

The picturesque Stade de la Frontière ground, home to Jeunesse Esch, bears all the familiar hallmarks of the Saints' own Inchicore backyard, a modest arena in a sylvan setting surrounded by houses.

Liam Buckley's men will hope that their form follows them to their home from home too; they lead 1-0 after a fitful display in Dublin last week.

It is a lead to protect but a perilous one.

"Looking back on last week's result, you've got to be happy any time you get a win in Europe," says Buckley, who will be under pressure to ensure Pat's progress to capitalise on the considerable UEFA booty on offer for the winners.

"Jeunesse are a good side and showed that last week. That being said, we know we can play better and our general play can improve a lot.

"Jeunesse aren't in the middle of their season like ourselves at present. But they only finished in May so I wouldn't read into things like that too much.

"Both teams now know an awful lot about each other compared to last week so we can expect them to cause problems for us."

Christy Fagan's goal made the striker the club's all-time top-scorer (with five) in European competition, and his manager insists the best way to defend tonight's lead will be to win.

"It's great to have a lead heading into this second leg, and the clean sheet last week was crucial," adds Buckley.

"The away goal is always important in the Europa League, and we know if we can get one, it could go a long way to getting through.

"However, we've just got to approach the game as we normally would, get out and play our game and get our passing and overall rhythm going."

"Last week we went about things right," winger Conan Byrne told

"The early goal helped and we looked to get that second goal following on from that and were a little unlucky not to score.

"They stepped it up a bit in the second half and we did well to weather the storm and went close to getting that second goal. If we can apply ourselves right tomorrow night, we can get through this tie."

St Pat's are expected to remain unchanged for the tie.

Irish Independent

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