Filippo Giovagnoli says there is no need for supporters to panic despite the departures of some fan favourites from Oriel Park last week.
Sean Hoare and Sean Gannon’s respective moves from Dundalk to Shamrock Rovers means Stephen Bradley’s side are even hotter favourites to retain their title next season than they were beforehand with many fans concerned about continued uncertainty surrounding the make up of the Lilywhites squad for 2021.
However, speaking to The Argus on Sunday Giovagnoli said that he was confident that Dundalk could build on what he felt was a successful four month spell under his tenure during which time the club secured European football for next season, reached the Europa League group stages and won the FAI Cup.
“I don’t see this kind of panic because the season was great,” he said.
“If we think just because Dundalk didn’t win the league that it was a bad year then that’s wrong. Shamrock won the league. They did better. The priority for the club was elsewhere.
“I think the fans enjoyed the fact we played so many European games and it was an honour to do that. In the end we won a trophy that last year we didn’t win and we beat Shamrock in the final. So I don’t understand the panic.
“I hope next year to be in the same position, to play all the games possible. That would mean we are successful. Of course the difference should be that we are competitive in the league. We want to battle for the title, not like this year but this was not the objective when I arrived. Maybe it was the objective at the beginning but not when I arrived because I think it was impossible to get the title when I came. It was already compromised and that’s why the club was mainly focused on Europe.”
Giovagnoli admitted he had wanted to keep hold of both Hoare and Gannon but backed the club to replace them adequately.
“They’re great players but great people first. I really enjoyed working with them,” he said.
“We asked them to stay. Probably our deal wasn’t good enough for them so they decided to take the deal of Shamrock. Now we have to move forward.
“What can we do if Shamrock gave them a better deal? Our intention was to keep them with us but they decided to leave. This was their decision and we respect that. Now we’re going to replace them with quality. There’s no doubt about that.”
Giovagnoli also dismissed claims that Gannon, who won 15 trophies at the club since arriving in 2014, was a player he didn’t rate.
“When I arrived Sean Gannon was injured. Then we started to play in a certain way that worked. The first five or six games we won and I didn’t change much but then little by little Sean started to get back into shape and by the end he was starting most games.
“Nobody is discussing the value of Sean Gannon. He was starting every game at the end. He didn’t start in Athlone because I rested him but for the rest of the games in Europe and the Cup final he played. This showed I trusted him. I wouldn’t start a player who wasn’t going to help me win,” he said.