We are back in action! Last week our four JD Cymru Premier European sides took to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers to represent our domestic game on the continental stage.
This week they get set to do it all again, and you can hear from all four of the managers below who share their thoughts on the first leg ties and their expectations for this week’s action.
Andy Morrison – Connah’s Quay Nomads
“At this moment in time I’m very proud. The character and the desire and the heart of this team is remarkable. I’m so proud because it could have got messy in the second half of the first leg – every opportunity they had was our mistake, giving balls away – but I’m very proud.
“They’ve brought in news players this week, including the Russian who banged two goals in the top corner, they brought a Brazilian in on the left and a striker from Portugal, so these guys are on a completely different level to what we usually compete with, but when it comes to heart and desire we were immense.
“We’ve managed to put ourselves in a better position than we were in against Kilmarnock after the first leg a few years ago now, so we’re going to go out there now for the second leg and give it everything we’ve got and see if we can get through to the next round.”
Anthony Limbrick – The New Saints
“If you’d have asked us before the game, we knew coming here would be tough and we’d have to defend well for long periods, but I think we did that and we very much deserved a draw.
“I think it’ll be a different game in the second leg, back home on our pitch. We’ve lost a few players through injury in the build-up to this game, so to come here, perform how we did and get this result is a positive for us.
“Leo has great ability, we see him do it a lot in training. The challenge for him has perhaps been replicating what we see in training in the games. He had a tough little period last season when I came in, but he’s a top lad, good character, works hard and he’s definitely got that in the locker.
“We want to win every game, but we’re happy with where we are and it sets up the second leg for us. It is a cliché, but it is halftime in the tie and we’d take a 1-1 at this stage.”
Colin Caton – Bala Town
“I don’t think we played well, I think we huffed and puffed and lacked a bit of quality in all departments. The goal we’ve given away is horrific, and moments like that change games, but I thought we were in it until the last 15 minutes, but I’m not overly worried and we’ll look forward to the second leg.
“We’ve got to get on with it, we’ve got to be better in big games like this, and I think we lacked quality and composure in the final third. They adjusted their shape a few times to stop us, I don’t think it was a good game to watch, but we’ll address our quality in the next game.
“We might make some changes, but we’ve seen the opposition now and know a lot more about them so we’ll go there and see what we can do.”
Chris Hughes – Newtown
“It was always going to be a difficult game, but then our preparations were significantly disturbed because of the self-isolation rules we were all following, so we didn’t finish that until Monday morning and the first time I’d seen the players was on the Tuesday when we flew to Ireland, so that was far from ideal.
“Dundalk are two thirds of the way through their season, a full-time outfit who got to the group stages of the Europa League last year, but with that being said they played the way we expected and they had a lot of the ball, but our preparation and everything else just seemed to go against us. I’m very proud of my players for going through that adversity though, I can’t criticise them at all.
“We’ll be stronger for the second leg, we hope to have a few bodies back, and we can go into that as competitive as we can be and we’ll look to give Dundalk a tough game. Winning by five, I don’t know, we’ve got to be respectful to who we’re playing against, but we’ll be looking to get something out of the game certainly against a very good outfit who we’re sure will give us another tough encounter.”
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