Stephen Kenny: Win or bust attitude the only way for Dundalk

Stephen Kenny: Win or bust attitude the only way for Dundalk

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny feels his side have no other option but to go into their crunch Europa League Group D showdown against Maccabi Tel-Aviv with the mentality of it being a "win-or-nothing game".

Stephen Kenny: Win or bust attitude the only way for Dundalk

Both sides are locked on four points heading into the final round of fixtures and are a point off AZ Alkmaar in the race to secure runners-up spot behind Zenit St Petersburg and a place in the knock-out stages.

Given all the possible outcomes, a score draw could prove enough to send Dundalk through if AZ lose.

However, should AZ inflict what would be a first Group D defeat on the Russians in Holland, then the Dutch side would progress to the last 32 regardless of the result in Israel.

Despite destiny now being out of their control following a 1-0 loss to AZ in Dublin last month, Kenny believes a positive approach at the Netanya Municipal Stadium is the only way forward.

"There is permutations that a score draw could put us through if Zenit win their match, but we must not think like that. We can't think like that," Kenny said on the club's official website, www.dundalkfc.com.

"It is a win or nothing for me and I only see it as a win or nothing game for us.

"Maccabi are huge favourites with their record. They have been in the Champions League and have 17 international players, but we have achieved special things over the last few years and we must strive to go one further."

Kenny added: "Tomorrow night is a huge opportunity for us. It's not completely in our own hands. We are not in control of our own destiny because AZ Alkmaar have a home game against Zenit St. Petersburg.

"We must try to beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv who only last year were in the Champions League themselves. We must try to get the win over here in Israel."

Dundalk are making their debut in the Europa League group stages this season, having lost out in the Champions League play-offs against Legia Warsaw.

The Lilywhites opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw at AZ in September and also beat Maccabi at home.

Kenny, who was today named the Philips Sports Manager of the Year, has challenged his men to rise to the challenge once again.

"Zenit are a proud team and they won't want to lose a game.They will want to maintain their 100% record in the group. From our point of view we need to focus on Maccabi," he said.

"We have enough to worry about in terms of Maccabi Tel-Aviv. They are a good side and we must focus on them. There isn't a city or a country that we have been in that we haven't scored in.

"Luxembourg, Croatia, Belarus, Iceland, Poland, Holland and Russia we have scored in each one. We have the ability to go and score goals anywhere and all through the team.

"We have managed to score in every country and we must draw on that again in Israel."

Midfielders Chris Shields and Stephen O'Donnell are both in contention to face Maccabi after recovering from hamstring problems.

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