Thursday 22 February 2018

Rosenborg look to Ireland as first step to group stages

Nicklas Bendtner. Photo: PA Wire
Nicklas Bendtner. Photo: PA Wire
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

"This is the fun part of the year," said Rosenborg coach Kare Ingebrigtsen after arriving in Oriel Park last night.

It's the most pressurised part too, with the Norwegian champions arriving in Louth knowing full well that the expectation back home is that they will do enough to pave the way for progression after next week's second leg.

Rosenborg are five points clear at the top of the Eliteserien but it hasn't all been plain sailing this year with Ingebrigtsen under some pressure after inconsistent displays, especially on the road.

They have a squad packed with internationals and ex-Arsenal player Nicklas Bendtner is the highest-profile member after his move from Nottingham Forest earlier this year.

Rosenborg have opted to stay down the road in Drogheda and their entire session was open to all observers, which suggests they are confident in their plan.

Stephen Kenny did point out earlier in the day that the disciplined opponents' style of play is well known and yet other Norwegian teams have been incapable of stopping them.

With Bendtner leading the line and runners breaking from midfield, they are a potent side that is also proficient on set-pieces and from crosses with plenty of width in their 4-3-3 system.


Ingebrigtsen's first task as boss was to negotiate a second leg win over Sligo Rovers in the Europa League three years ago, but he says that Dundalk are a much better opponent.

And, similar to the coaches that sized up Kenny's side on their European odyssey last term, he recognises that tonight's hosts will try and use the ball rather than going for the old-school direct 'British-style' approach.

"It's definitely a team that is used to winning and controlling games, they are a tough opponent," said Ingebrigtsen, a former team-mate of Niall Quinn at Manchester City.

"To dominate the league here as Cork and Dundalk have done, you need to play a different style and they do that. They play attractive football. Our ambition is to get into the group stages. You have to be lucky, and you have to be smart in the games.

"For us, an away goal is really important. We're coming here to score goals. If Dundalk don't score, then it's a good job for us. They are a good team and it should be an even game. Hopefully we are the better team but we will see tomorrow."

Rosenborg's international experience goes beyond Bendtner. In addition to their Norwegian contingent, captain Mike Jensen has also lined out for Denmark at senior level. Another midfielder, Matthias Vilhjalmsson, has represented Iceland. They have quality around the park.

Irish Independent

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