St Patrick’s Athletic defender Ger O’Brien has said his team-mates will not sit on the away goal secured against Legia Warsaw in the second leg of Wednesday’s Champions League second round qualifier at Tallaght Stadium.
Christy Fagan’s goal has given Pat’s hopes of progressing to a likely third round qualifier against Celtic but know the Polish champions could be a different proposition in the return meeting.
O’Brien said the Saints will again have a tactic ready to deploy to win the game, rather than rest on the 1-1 result in Poland.
He said: “We won’t play for 0-0. Anyone that knows Liam Buckley well enough, he was a very good centre-forward himself, that's the way he likes to play. We have a game plan.
“It will be something similar to the away leg. They are a good side, they'll have most of the ball and we have to contain that. Then we'll try to pin them on the break and see can we take our chances.
“I think our league form has been a bit erratic. This season I think a lot was expected of us. We came into the game with a couple of bad results. But in the first leg, the atmosphere, the whole occasion, the stadium, everything around it, we stood up to it. We've given a good performance but we still have the rest to do to finish it off.”
“In the first leg, the atmosphere, the whole occasion, the stadium, everything around it, we stood up to it.”
Pat’s showed a brilliant composure in not only stifling the Legia threat in the Pepsi Arena, but in attacking with pace and purpose against the shocked Polish outfit.
Fagan was denied a second goal from a goal-line clearance, and only for a stoppage-time leveller from Miroslav Radovic, there could have been even more cause for optimism in south Dublin.
He said that utilising possession is key to success on a stage like the one the Saints face on Wednesday.
“I think it's important," he added.
"Down through the years we've seen teams when you cough up possession in Champions League or watching international football with Ireland, teams can hurt you because they have good players. You need the ball to score goals.
“If you don't have it for a lot of the time, then when you do get it you have to use it properly. That's what we try to do. When you have players like Killian Brennan, Keith Fahey, Greg Bolger, Chris Forrester and Conan Byrne going forward we can hurt teams. Just because of Legia and who they are, they'll be no different.”
One disappointment for Pat’s is that the game will be played in Tallaght rather than Richmond Park, with the facilities in Inchicore unable to handle a fixture that has attracted huge interest from Legia fans in Ireland and Warsaw.
A sell-out crowd of 6,000 is expected for the game, but O’Brien insists that they must not use the venue change as an excuse.
“There's no point hiding the fact Richmond Park has been very good to us in European football the last couple of seasons," the 30-year-old admitted.
“We had to move the game against Hannover here as well but it will be big crowd, a better atmosphere probably than what it would be in Richmond Park, but still there disappointment is there. We're not going to use it as an excuse, we've known for some time and there's no point going over to that atmosphere and that occasion and then throwing it all away here. We certainly won't use the stadium as an excuse if something does go wrong.”
Buckley has banned talk of Celtic in the build-up to the game, but O’Brien confessed that the thoughts of meeting with Scottish champions brings great excitement.
“Of course we've spoken about it. To say we haven't would be a lie. It is a fantastic opportunity for us and if we can progress, then it is all set up for a fantastic few weeks for not only the club, but also the league as well.”