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Shamrock Rovers Manager Stephen Bradley after the game.
Shamrock Rovers Manager Stephen Bradley after the game.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

'9/10 times Alan saves it, but that probably sums up the two legs for us'

Stephen Bradley said the ‘sloppy’ concession of a goal last night epitomised his side’s woe against Flora Tallinn.
Aug 27th 2021, 7:45 AM 5,344 11

STEPHEN BRADLEY lamented the defensive errors mainly committed in the first leg as his side exited Europe following a 5-2 aggregate loss to Flora Tallinn.

Shamrock Rovers looked far less open in Tallaght compared with the first leg but still went down to a Rauno Sappinen goal just before the hour mark.

“It’s disappointing,” Bradley told reporters afterwards. “We’re obviously out. We gave ourselves a really difficult task on the back of last week. It’s done. We learn from it. We move on.”

Asked whether the damage was really done in the first leg, the Hoops boss replied: “I think so. We conceded four goals against a good team. We had to limit them to very little in this game and we did that.

“The goal, maybe Alan [Mannus] should save it, but I thought the players showed tremendous character to show up and play. For 35 minutes in the first half, we were very good. The [Tallinn] ‘keeper made some saves. The start of the second half was a bit scrappy for both teams and then they scored and that sort of killed it for us.” 

The game’s only goal was frustrating from a Rovers perspective. Danny Mandroiu conceded possession cheaply in the build-up, allowing Flora to break, and Mannus will feel he should have done better, as the experienced goalkeeper could not prevent Sappinen’s pot shot from slipping under his body.

“Yeah, sloppy. We had clean possession. Bad pass. Ball down the side. There’s no real danger. 9/10 times Alan saves it, but that probably sums up the two legs for us to be fair.

“When you look back at the goals from last week and tonight, we could have [prevented them], but to be fair, they were ruthless. When they had chances, they took them. It was very unlike us last week, to give up chances, tonight we didn’t give up any apart from the goal obviously. Tonight was more like us.”

The 36-year-old coach assessed Rovers’ European campaign as “very good” overall.

“Slovan away, I think the conditions played a massive factor in how we performed. But here was a fantastic performance. The two legs against the Albanian team, we were good and managed the game well. Over there, attacking wise was really good but defensively was poor. Tonight, I thought they were good until the goal. It wasn’t enough. We’ve got to learn from that, dust ourselves down and go again.”

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Bradley also said losing to an Estonian side that some might have regarded as beatable and whose resources would be comparable to Rovers did not make the outcome any more frustrating.

“No, I think you’ve got to give them respect,” he said. “They’re a good team, well-coached. I think in the next few years, you’ll hear a lot on some of them players. They’ve two on the bench that are probably their most exciting, to be honest, they didn’t play in the two legs. But they’re a good team. I think we’ll see that over the next few years.”

He continued: “I think you always look back and think: ‘Could we have changed that? Could we have done that?’ That’s what we’ll do. We’ll sit down and review it. We’ll see where we’re good. We’ll see where we can get better and we’ll refocus. We’re in a very strong position domestically and we’ll come again. This team has been very good for a long time. Last week, we let ourselves down, but tonight, we were good.”

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Paul Fennessy

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