Dundalk continue their European summer in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League against Vitesse Arnhem on Thursday night at the GelreDome.
Captain Andy Boyle feels that this will be a different test than last week but first reflected on the victory over Levadia Tallinn in the second round and felt that the Lilywhites were deserved winners…despite leaving it late!
“It was an amazing night against Levadia. I think over the two legs we were the better side and definitely deserved to go through
“I know we left it late but we controlled the game over there for large periods and we are happy with the performance overall in the tie. We are in good form.
“Obviously the manner of the win makes it all the sweeter but we are delighted to be through.”
The 2-1 win for Dundalk was their third win out of four matches in continental competition this season following up on the two wins over Welsh side Newtown in the first qualifying round along with the draw in the first match against Levadia.
Boyle is understandably pleased with the side’s form in the competition this year and is hoping the momentum built up over the past four weeks can be carried into Thursday evening.
“We have got into a rhythm in Europe this year. We had Newtown at home which was a great win. 4-0 is never easy to come by especially in European competition so we didn’t take that for granted and we finished the job over there.
“We knew we would have to go step things up against Levadia and we wanted to carry the Newtown momentum into that tie. We acquitted ourselves well.
“We have been brave in our approach so far in Europe and that has been the key.”
This will be the 7th time that the Lilywhites have drawn Dutch opposition in Europe and the most recent trips to the Netherlands was against AZ Alkmaar in 2016 which resulted in a famous 1-1 draw.
That was historical for Irish football as Dundalk became the first side to win a point in European Group Stage competition on the night.
Dubliner Boyle was a part of the team that night and while he is certain that experience can stand to the players, Dundalk’s recent European history should be evidence enough of what they are capable of.
“There are still a lot of guys in the dressing room who experienced the last time we played a team from the Eredivisie. That was an amazing night and we can draw on those kinds of experiences.
“The BATE Borisov result was five years ago this week too and we all remember that but this is our own thing now and our own team.
“We have shown that we can compete and pull off some great results and we can draw on those moments.”
Vitesse finished fourth in the Eredivisie in the last campaign and were runners up to Ajax in the Dutch Cup at the end of the season also.
With talent sprinkled all over the pitch, the 30 year-old is under no illusions of the quality that Arnhem possess however he is looking forward to the clash and confident of a positive outcome.
“Vitesse are going to be one of the strongest sides that we have faced over the last couple of years. We have done a lot of work on them, we know their strengths and their weaknesses.
“They have players all over the pitch who can hurt you, full internationals and we know what they can do. They finished fourth in the league against teams like Ajax and PSV – that speaks for itself.
“For ourselves, these are the games that we want to be involved in, we are enjoying playing at this level, against this calibre of players and we are confident we can get a result. “