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Bradley's main emotion is pride as Rovers are beaten by Milan

The Rovers manager was impressed by his sides performance, sentiments shared by Stefano Pioli and Paolo Maldini.

Stephen Bradley.
Stephen Bradley.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS MANAGER Stephen Bradley said his dominant emotion is pride after his side were beaten 2-0 by AC Milan in their second round Europa League qualifier at Tallaght Stadium tonight. 

Milan scored at the midway point of each half – first through Zlatan Ibrahimovic and then Hakan Calhanoglu – and while Bradley admitted Rovers could have been sharper on both goals, he said it would be churlish to allow that detract from the positives of Rovers’ performance. 

“I thought we were brave, we played our way and we got three really good chances off the back of that. On another night if Aaron scored that first [chance], you’d never know what might happen. So I’m really proud of the group, really proud of how they attacked the game. We know what we were up against in terms of quality. But we didn’t take a step back, we played our way and that was the most pleasing thing.

“At this level, if you are pressing and your angles are half a yard off, you get punished. It wasn’t even a bad press [on the opening goal] but we took the wrong step when we were pressing and when you do that around the box it’s two touches and it’s in the back of the net, especially when you have someone like Ibrahimovic. It’s very small margins at this level. We could have prevented it but, like I said, it’s split seconds and you are punished.

“When you consider the calibre of opposition, it has to be up there [as one of Rovers' best performances of the season]. We’ve created three chances from football, it hasn’t been a kick and a hope and something has dropped for us on the edge of the box. We have created three really, really good chances against a top team.”

Among those complimentary of the Rovers performance were Milan boss Stefano Pioli and Paolo Maldini, now Technical Director at the club. 

“They came over and were really, really positive and were full of compliments about how we play. It’s nice to hear them things.” 

Domestic commitments will now have Rovers’ undivided attention for the rest of the year, beginning with a clash with Waterford next Monday as they seek to wrap up the league title. 

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“There were passages when we were really good. I don’t know the last team in Europe to create three chances playing really good football against that level of opposition. Yeah there are things we can do better, but we have to recognise the positives and build on them. I don’t think you can be too down after that. You have to understand how they press and the intensity of that press, and they have top, top players. I thought we showed tremendous courage to play our way and that was really pleasing.” 

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Gavin Cooney

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