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'He controlled the game. It was played at his tempo'

Stephen Bradley praised Chris McCann for his performance against St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.

Shamrock Rovers' Chris McCann (file pic).
Shamrock Rovers' Chris McCann (file pic).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHAMROCK ROVERS BOSS Stephen Bradley praised Chris McCann for his performance in the 1-1 draw with St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night.

McCann was one of four new signings in the Hoops’ starting XI, along with Sean Hoare, Sean Gannon and Daniel Mandroiu.

The 33-year-old midfielder joined the club in the off-season following a short spell in League Two with Oldham.

The Dubliner previously made over 200 appearances for Burnley, including seven in the Premier League, while he also has had stints at Wigan, Atlanta United, Coventry City and DC United.

Bradley said all of his new recruits were “excellent,” but reserved particular praise for McCann.

“Chris McCann showed again the level of player he is. He controlled the game. It was played at his tempo. He quickened it when he wanted to, he slowed it down when he wanted to. He showed his range of passing.”

On Mandroiu, signed in the off-season after two campaigns with Bohemians, Bradley added: “Danny Mandroiu showed what he is going to be. I thought he was unplayable at times. He should score [when he had a chance in the second half] instead of taking that extra touch, but overall he was real quality.”

The game itself was unsurprisingly tight. Pat’s were the only Premier Division team that Rovers failed to beat last season, with both fixtures ending scoreless, and it wasn’t until the 88th minute when the deadlock was broken in the season opener at Tallaght.

Bradley consequently felt his team weren’t clinical enough on the night.

“We had enough chances to be well out of sight. I knew it was going to take time for the game to settle and for us to get control of it, being a Dublin derby in the first game. Once we matched that and took control, we had enough chances to be out of sight and we didn’t take them.

“We were guilty tonight of trying to score a perfect goal, we’re in the box trying to pull it back and pass instead of just finishing. We can’t look for the perfect goal. We have to take what is presented to us. We got hit with a sucker punch, but we showed tremendous character and belief to come back and get the point in the end.”

Aaron Greene scored what Bradley described as a “tremendous header” to get Rovers out of jail, after coming off the bench. His manager clarified that the 31-year-old had not been injured, with Rory Gaffney simply preferred to lead the attack in the past two matches.

“Rory has had a good pre-season and the squad is strong. If you’re playing well, you will deserve the shirt,” he explained.

It was the second game in succession that Rovers had been left feeling a sense of frustration, after losing against Dundalk on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the President’s Cup.

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And Bradley expects a defensive approach from their opponents to be par for the course in the season ahead.

“We have to expect that and to be fair it’s showing a lot of respect to us and how we play, in terms of controlling the game. What we faced last week and tonight are two good sides. They came with that and that is what we will face from here on in, but that’s fine. It’s a gameplan and you have got to respect that and we have to be clinical when we have our chances, instead of trying to score the perfect goal.”

Meanwhile, next week’s scheduled game with Derry is off after the Candystripes’ goalkeeper Nathan Gartside was called up to the Northern Ireland squad.

Bradley suggested the team may look to play a friendly instead, but nothing has been officially arranged as yet.

He also confirmed that defender Roberto Lopes was due to fly out on international duty with Cape Verde on Monday and that he would not be subject to quarantine restrictions on his return except in the event of a positive Covid case in his national team.

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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