Filippo Giovagnoli praises Dundalk on a night they made Europa League history

The Lilywhites became the first team not to concede a foul over the 90 minutes since the competition began.

DUNDALK BOSS Filippo Giovagnoli had words of encouragement for his side despite a disappointing 3-0 loss to Arsenal in the Europa League tonight.

The Lilywhites held the Gunners scoreless for much of the first half, but a disastrous five minutes before the break saw them concede twice in quick succession.

A stunning Pepe goal made it 3-0 moments into the second half, but Dundalk held firm thereafter, and while their opponents clearly possessed more talent, the Irish side showed admirable work-rate on the night.

Giovagnoli’s side’s discipline off the ball was also impressive, as evidenced by one notable stat — they became the first side in Europa League history not to commit a single foul over the course of the 90 minutes.

Speaking on Virgin Media Sport afterwards, the Dundalk boss lamented the costly individuals errors, but also expressed satisfaction with elements of the performance.

“You have to be really sharp at this level,” he said. “Any mistakes you make can be an opportunity for the opponent.

“The quality of this team, the quality of Arsenal is something unbelievable. This team is able to control the game with any team in the world. They have so much quality in possession, that is something unbelievable. So what we did has a big value tonight.”

Meanwhile, Joe Willock, who scored with a clinical finish for the second goal, praised his team-mates’ efforts in an interview with BT Sport.

“Happy to get a win. I thought we played well. Every team is a struggle in Europe, we had to stick to our plan and I felt we did that.

“I am grateful to play for this team, to start from the beginning makes me happy and a proud moment for my family. Happy for the team and happy to score as well.

“He [Mikel Arteta] just told me to keep working hard. I told him I want to fight for my position and hopefully I will get an opportunity again.”

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In addition, Arsenal’s Cedric Soares added: ”We knew about the difficulties of the opposition, we knew we needed to be patient.

“We waited, we kept going, everyone was giving their best and once we scored the first goal, we immediately got the second and the game opened up, so it was a good performance.”

The42 GAA Weekly is here! Join hosts Shane Dowling and Marc Ó Sé as they preview Tipperary v Limerick, Donegal v Tyrone, and the rest of the weekend’s action:

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