Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli is gunning for a crack at Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur as his side awaits its fate in today's draw for the Europa League group stages.
The Airtricity League side booked their place with a 3-1 defeat of Faroe Island champions KÍ thanks to goals from Sean Murray, Daniel Cleary and Daniel Kelly. An effort from Ole Erik Midtskogen was the sole reply at 2-0 down.
“I would love to play against Mourinho because I think he is an icon in soccer,” said Giovagnoli, the Italian who was brought in from his job as director of a football academy in New York to take over the side in late August.
“Just to meet him on the pitch would be great.”
It was a wish echoed by Kelly, the Ringsend lad who grew up around the corner from the Aviva and whose uncle was the steward who opened the gate on the team's arrival.
“I'd like Spurs as well. I'd take Gareth Bale down the line any day,” he laughed.
This was the big end goal for Dundalk and their American owners, who will bank just short of €3m for making it this far, plus another €190,000 per point earned in their six group games to come, but Giovagnoli described it as a springboard for “something special” going forward.
“This result is going to help the club build a new journey,” he said.
The manager, on board on a short-term basis after the departure of Vinny Perth in August, reiterated his determination to continue on as manager next season but he wasn't getting carried away with an evening that was undeniably historic.
“The feeling is unbelievable now,” said Giovagnoli.
“It was an important game. You could see it in the build up and then the first touch was not clean. At the end of the day what was important was the result and getting through. We make history now so we are proud.”