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Dublin: -1°C Monday 1 March 2021

'I've got to look in the mirror' - Perth takes blame for Champions League exit

The Dundalk boss carried a resigned tone after his side’s 3-0 loss to Slovenian champions Celje.

Vinny Perth ahead of kick-off in the Champions League.
Vinny Perth ahead of kick-off in the Champions League.
Image: Aleksandar Djorovic/INPHO

VINNY PERTH SAYS responsibility for Dundalk’s early Champions League exit lies with him rather than his players, after the club were beaten 3-0 by Slovenian champions Celje in Budapest this evening. 

Dundalk missed a string of chances – with Pat Hoban hitting the post with the game at 1-0 – and were made to pay for a series of glaring defensive errors that led to Celje’s goals. 

“Really hard to take”, Perth told Dundalk’s in-house media team after the game.

“The payers were outstanding tonight and ultimately that result is at my door, not the players’.They were brilliant, full credit to them.

“The lads were punished tonight but I’m not going to criticise them. Immense men, what they have done for this town over the last eight years, I’m very proud of them and I’m very proud of my association with them. C’est la vie, it’s a disappointing night and we have to take it on the chin.” 

Perth, who won the league and EA Sports Cup having taken over from Stephen Kenny last season, as seen his side fall off the pace domestically since the resumption of football after the lockdown. They are without a league win since the restart and are eight points from leaders Shamrock Rovers with 10 games remaining. 

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“I feel I set the team up right [tonight], I feel we understood exactly who we were up against, I wouldn’t change anything”, said Perth. “Therefore I’ve got to look in the mirror because there’s not a lot I’d change. I’d change the couple of weeks leading up to the game, and I think if Pat [Hoban] scores we probably go on to win the game.

“But if I’m not willing to change anything about that I’ve got to look in the mirror.

“I’m bitterly disappointed for the town of Dundalk, they’ve given so much to me and this team over the last eight years. There’s not a lot broken in this team, it doesn’t need a lot to fix it. The club and the town needs to stick with that group of players, and yes, it needs a bit of fixing, but not a lot.” 

This defeat means Dundalk are out of the Champions League but are not out of Europe entirely – they now drop down into the qualifying stages of the Europa League. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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