Molde feel two wins against Rovers are necessary if they want to qualify for knockout stage of Europa Conference League
Molde boss Erling Moe says he does not have the ‘wrong impression’ about football in Ireland but admits that his side need to beat Shamrock Rovers at home and away if they want to advance in the Europa Conference League.
The runaway Norwegian league leaders are level with Rovers on one point after two games after a scoreless draw at home to Gent and a surprise defeat away to Swedish outfit Djurgarden IF.
Moe thinks they need to defeat Stephen Bradley’s Hoops here in Molde tomorrow before repeating the dose in Tallaght next Thursday if they are to secure a top two finish. “Most likely, yeah, we have to do that if we want to get through,” he said earlier today.
However, Moe spoke respectfully about the visitors, stressing that they are different to the common perception of Irish teams and superior to the Dundalk side that Molde defeated in the Europa League group stages in 2020.
“You can often have a wrong impression about the football in Ireland, kick and run and stuff like that. Shamrock is not that at all,” he said.
“They have a style of play and they want to use the ball and are a good organised team with the ball. They try to use the ball in a way in which they put their opponents in difficulty with runs and stuff like that. It's a good team that we're meeting.
“We have seen them live and looked at them on the video and I know it's going to be a tough, tough game tomorrow. Hopefully we will have an advantage at home here, but I think that will even out when we come to visit them over there.
“In 2020, we struggled a lot with Dundalk in Ireland (Molde came from behind to win 2-1) and it was a bit easier on this pitch (3-1 home win) but they were two really tough games and I see Shamrock as a bit better than Dundalk at that time. As I said it will be a really difficult game, a physical team, they run a lot. I like the team. I should hope that they would be not that good, but that's life.”
Moe pinpointed Hoops striker Rory Gaffney as a player he liked, and offered his own take on why Rovers have performed so well at home in Europe but struggled on their travels. Stephen Bradley’s side drew at home to Djurgarden on the opening night before conceding three away to Gent, following a similar profile from their qualifying round matches where tough losses on the road against Ludogorets and Ferencvaros left them with too much to do back at base.
“Maybe they are quite similar (in how they play) and that’s maybe tougher away than at home,” he said. “They try to do it the same as at home.”