Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli says he has no choice but to rotate his team over the coming weeks because of their "ridiculously complicated" schedule. 

On Thursday, the Lilywhites begin their Europa League group stage campaign against Norway's Molde, the first of six continental fixtures between now and the end of the year, coupled with the remaining domestic fixtures.

On Monday night, they were away at Derry City where a much changed Dundalk side saw off the hosts 2-1 to tighten their grip on third in the SSE Airtricity League. 

In light of seven changes to the starting team to face the Candystripes, Giovagnoli described the result as "super important" at the start of a hectic number of weeks.

"We consolidated third position and this was the only way. Our calendar is ridiculously complicated," he said.

"We have important matches every three days and if we don't rotate like that, we're going to have injuries."

Turning towards Thursday's Europa League assignment, the Italian is hopeful his side can rise to the occasion.

"We are looking to perform, to give a really sharp performance, so we're going to prepare well these two days," he said.

"We don't have a lot of time to prepare but the squad is ready. I think the energy is going to come back really soon for the European game for sure." 

Watch Friday's crucial UEFA Women's Euro 2022 qualifier between Ukraine and the Republic of Ireland live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player from 4:30pm, with live updates on rte.ie/sport.

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