Defending the key as Shamrock Rovers face ‘massive task’

Instilled with the belief they can score at the Mestsk Stadion, defending better than they did last week will be the foundation of any likelihood Shamrock Rovers have of resurrecting their Europa League hopes here in the Czech Republic this evening.

Manager Stephen Bradley doesn’t doubt the scale of the task his players face in what should be very warm conditions, as he stressed the need to be clever and calm in equal measure.

“Even before the tie, I felt we’d need to score over here because of the way they attack,” said Bradley.

“We need to be clever as well. It’s doesn’t need to be in the first 20 or 30 minutes. We need to play the game for what it is. When we score, which I believe we will, then it’s time to have a real go. Till then we just need to be nice and calm.”

That quiet confidence stems from his side having scored twice last week while also creating several other clear chances. “We’ll definitely get opportunities to score. They’re dangerous going forward, but at the back they’ll give up opportunities.”

Bradley is likely to go with an unchanged side from last week when Graham Burke’s late second goal kept the door, however tenuously, ajar. “There is no getting away from it, to go away in Europe and score two goals and not concede, it’s a massive task,” added Bradley.

“But with this team, everywhere we’ve gone we’ve scored and I believe we will score (tonight) because we create so many chances. The key for us is how we defend when they have the ball.”

When Rovers have it, Bradley wants his players to play with confidence, energy and tempo. “At times we were too deep in terms of our midfield and we allowed them to play,” said Bradley of the first leg.

“If we can get up the pitch higher and press them quicker we can cause them problems.”

Shamrock Rovers (Probable): Chencinski; Madden, Lopes, Webster, Byrne; Miele, Finn, Connolly, Clarke; Burke; Shaw.

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