Giovagnoli coaching from the stands. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Giovagnoli feels 'guilty' over substitute decisions in Molde defeat

Gary Rogers, meanwhile, bemoaned the disallowing of Pat Hoban’s first-half goal.

DUNDALK COACH Filippo Giovagnoli admitted to feeling “guilty” over not making substitutions earlier in the game as Dundalk surrendered a half-time lead in 2-1 defeat to Molde in their opening Europa League group game at Tallaght Stadium. 

The Lilywhites led through a Sean Murray header 10 minutes before the break, but Molde upped the ante considerably in the second half. Molde equalised on the 62-minute mark through Etzaz Hussein, and turned the game around 10 minutes later from the penalty spot. 

Giovagnoli admitted Dundalk flagged in the face of Molde’s second-half performance, and said he regretted not making a substitution earlier in the game. Giovagnoli didn’t make any subs until Dundalk lost their lead, but introduced Patrick McEleney immediately after the concession of the goal.

“I am a little disappointed in myself as I could have helped the team and made a substitution earlier. The plan for the first half was working, we decided to press high in some situations, and defend as a block in other situations, and we scored a good goal.  

“Then we couldn’t stick to this plan in the second half. Molde are a really strong team, but I have this regret I could have done something better myself. I didn’t tonight but I have to give credit to the quality of the opponent.

“They were commanding the game in the second half, we completely last control. They pushed us into our defensive third, and that’s something we don’t want. 

“We wanted to defend as block, but in the middle third. We lost a little bit of energy, and I can’t blame the players as they are playing every three days. Maybe if my intervention was earlier it might have been different. Maybe an earlier intervention with fresh players.

“I feel a little bit guilty about it.”

Giovagnoli is the head coach at Dundalk but doesn’t have the Uefa Pro Licence qualification needed to take charge in European competition, and so opposition analyst Shane Keegan – who does hold those qualifications – was named as manager. 

It meant Giovagnoli was not allowed stand in the technical area and so he stood in the stand behind the dug-out, describing the situation as “uncomfortable” for him. 

“They say I couldn’t coach and couldn’t say much and it was a really complicated night for me. But I have to understand this is what the Europa League will be for me.”

Goalkeeper Gary Rogers, meanwhile, lamented bad luck after the game, citing the disallowing of Pat Hoban’s first-half goal. It was unclear why the goal was chalked off:  Hoban may have been adjudged to have pushed defender Martin Bjornbak or Sean Murray impeded the goalkeeper, while Murray said after the game he had been told it was offside. 

“It’s a tough one to take, we scored one goal and had another disallowed that probably was a goal, so it’s a tough one to take. 

“There are positives to take from tonight, I.don’t think we were overawed. But we probably didn’t get the rub of the green we’d have liked.”

Dundalk’s next game is against Waterford on the league on Sunday, ahead of next Thursday’s trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal. 

Giovagnoli said his focus is now on the Waterford game, though did say there are positives and lessons to be mined from this opening-day defeat. 

“We have to learn lessons and we have to learn fast.” 


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