Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Derry City unveil keep-ball plan to cause Sofia shock

Derry City manager Stephen Kenny feels Sunday night’s draw with Cork City, was the perfect preparation for tomorrow evening’s UEFA Europa League encounter with CSKA Sofia (KO 6pm)

The Dubliner felt even though his side failed to defeat Paul Doolin’s men, their dominance in possession should help them in the Bulgarian capital.

“It’s funny, but retaining the ball is a priority, particularly when playing away from home in Europe,” he said.

“Against Cork we put together 10 to 15 passes, but when we got it wide and delivered a cross into the box, they had defenders back in numbers to clear the danger.

“Obviously in League of Ireland games it’s important to get the ball forward faster, but in Europe, ball retention is a priority and I was happy with that aspect of our play against Cork.

“I think we’ll have to mix it a bit in Sofia, even be a little direct on occasions, but we must keep possession the way we have been.

“It’s going to be a step up for us and whilst the performances against Skonto Riga were very good, I think we are going to have to step it up again against CSKA.”

Nevertheless he’ll be looking for his team to score another crucial away goal, no matter what the temperature maybe in the Bulgarian capital.

“I think the heat will be a factor, but the fact we’ve scored goals away from home in Europe is also significant,” said Kenny.

“We’ve scored in Sweden, Scotland and Latvia and we must try to keep doing that when such opportunities present themselves.

“We mustn’t be fearful going their and we must go their and believe in ourselves.

“We have to make sure that we prepare well and stay in the tie for the second-leg coming to the Brandywell and I think there is a massive incentive for us.”

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