Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley insists he does not let his mind wander on next week’s Champions League return with Hibernians, despite his side set to travel with a three-goal lead.
The Hoops are in control after a reasonably comfortable win at Tallaght, save for an awkward spell after half-time when the Maltese champions threatened to halve what was then a two-goal deficit.
Rory Gaffney added a third to put the Hoops in a position of authority but Bradley refuses to engage in a discussion about the likelihood of a second-round clash with Bulgarian top dogs Ludogorets, who have held a two-goal lead since their first leg to have.
“I really can’t, we saw in the second half that they (Hibernians) can be dangerous,” said Bradley, who admitted he was nervous ahead of the game because it was difficult to be sure of what to expect could expect from a visiting team that had brought in a number of new players to deal with a suspension crisis.
“Do we feel like winning the game? Of course we do. We think we can go and get better again. Go to win the game. But we have to make sure we respect them. I let people over me at the club I’m looking at other things, but for us it’s about next week.
“We’ve seen a lot of their games from last year but there have been so many changes in their group, in their squad and they haven’t played a game, not a competitive game, so it’s very difficult to watch them. And I don’t like that, you feel unprepared, you’re nervous.
“When you’re prepared, you’re calm, whatever’s going to happen. We’ve told the players it’s going to take 15 or 20 minutes to get a feel for them, but the players have adjusted really well, I felt she excellent.” “
Gaffney stole the show with two assists before his hit – as well as a flash point where he luckily escaped a red because he was kicked out.
However, Bradley went out of his way to mention playmaker Dylan Watts, who scored his side’s second goal to help set Ronan Finn opener. Watts assumed creative responsibility in the absence of Jack Byrne and Graham Burke.
“We’ve obviously been missing a lot of players but those who have been promoted lately have been brilliant,” he said.
“I know Rory deservedly became man of the match – but I thought Dylan was on a different level tonight.
“That performance is right up there with one of the best you’re going to see in terms of how smart he was, how fast he was, his end product, his all-around play. And he’s been like this for a while, he’s matured. For me he was outstanding.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/league-of-ireland/stephen-bradley-not-looking-too-far-ahead-in-europe-as-ludogorets-loom-for-shamrock-rovers-41817988.html Stephen Bradley isn’t looking too far ahead in Europe as Ludogorets emerge for Shamrock Rovers