After another bittersweet night against Bohemians at Dalymount Park, Johannes Yli-Kokko is looking forward to a change in focus this week as Dundalk get ready to enter European competition.
Two of the on-loan Finnish midfielder’s three goals for Dundalk have come against Bohs in Phibsborough but, unfortunately, for Yli-Kokko, the Lilywhites came up short on both occasions.
“For myself, I was happy to get the goal, but it doesn’t warm the heart to score and not get the three points,” he said after the 3-2 loss on Friday.
“We’re really disappointed. We didn’t have much control of the game in the first 15 minutes of the second half. We got better after that but it was a little bit like the home game against Bohs when we were 2-0 up and drew 2-2, we conceded some easy goals and it killed us.
“We need to keep the ball better and keep our balance when it’s late in games so we don’t get caught up in those kind of situations.”
With no SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division game scheduled until August, Dundalk’s focus now turns to the UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers where, after a year’s absence, the Lilywhites return to the European stage when they take on FCB Magpies in Gibraltar on Thursday.
Video analyst Dom Corrigan was at the Magpies’ pre-season friendly against Preston North End in Spain last Wednesday but Stephen O’Donnell and his coaching staff have found it difficult to obtain information about a squad that has undergone many changes since their Rock Cup win earlier in the summer.
Despite that, Yli-Kokko, who played in the UEFA Europa League group stages with his parent club HJK Helsinki last season, said Dundalk would be fully prepared for whatever is thrown at them in Gibraltar.
“It’s not easy to get footage but we’ll start to get to know the Magpies on Sunday and Monday and hopefully get a grasp on how they play and how we’re going to exploit them,” said Yli Kokko.
“It’s important that we put this defeat against Bohemians behind us now and concentrate on Europe. We have no league game for three or four weeks now so we can fully focus on the Magpies and getting a good result in Gibraltar.”