Brian Gartland has backed his Dundalk team-mates to come up with the goals needed to turn tonight’s Europa League third qualifying round second leg tie against Slovan Bratislava around at Tallaght Stadium.
A 1-0 defeat in Slovakia last week means that the Lilywhites have scored just once in five European outings so far this year.
While that’s a source of frustration for Gartland and co, the Dundalk captain feels his side has what it takes to keep it tight at the back and get in behind Jan Kozak’s side to make it another memorable night in Tallaght.
“We don’t want to talk about it but it is what it is,” he said when the lack of goals was put to him.
“It’s not us in this five, six or seven year period but at the same time you look at the two Riga games and you had 10 or 11 players stuck in their own half. Qarabag were a great outfit but we did score at home and should have had another one or two and been more clinical. We had limited enough chances over there but it’s just that final touch at the moment.
“We’ve created chances in games and I thought the other night was the European game in which we’ve created the most chances so that’s a positive. Jamie (McGrath) nearly scored, Andy (Boyle) nearly scored from a set piece and John (Mountney) was denied by an unbelievable save from the keeper off the crossbar and there were one or two others with good chances.
“That’s the positivity we take from the other night and we’ll be looking to take one of them or more on Tuesday.”
The centre half also spoke of the importance of keeping the Slovakians out.
“I think it’s massive that we keep a clean sheet because if they score we need three then,” he said.
“No matter what defence we have on Tuesday, I’d expect them to be able to do the job, keep a clean sheet and we can build our performance from there. We know we can improve attacking wise, create more chances and be more clinical.”
The 32-year-old said it would be “massive” for all involved if Dundalk could turn things around to set up a Europa League play-off against either Ajax or PAOK.
“Whether you’re a local or whether you’re not, it’s massive for Irish football and it’s massive for Dundalk Football Club and every player here.
“The tie is there. I thought we were good over there. There’s lots of positives. You can see we can hurt them but I think that’s them at their best because they seemed to be very happy with their performance.
“I think we can take positives from what we produced but I think there’s so much more to come from us. I think there’s another 20% or 30% to come from this team and that’s what we’re working on producing now. We’ll try get every inch out of ourselves to try to get through to the next round,” said Gartland.