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'The players looked at us as if we were aliens': How Dundalk's Italian coaches Filippo Giovagnoli and Giuseppe Rossi turned ridicule into Europa League success

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Filippo Giovagnoli and Giuseppe Rossi were appointed by Dundalk in August to a sceptical response but just a month later, led the club to the Europa League group stage.

Filippo Giovagnoli and Giuseppe Rossi were appointed by Dundalk in August to a sceptical response but just a month later, led the club to the Europa League group stage.

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Filippo Giovagnoli and Giuseppe Rossi were appointed by Dundalk in August to a sceptical response but just a month later, led the club to the Europa League group stage.

Tonight, two neighbours from Apecchio, a village of 1,800 people in the eastern Italian region of Marche, lead a club from Ireland's smallest county into the group stages of the Europa League.

Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli (49), a journeyman in Serie C and Serie D in his youth, was a first-time visitor to these shores when he landed in August.

His assistant Giuseppe Rossi, 10 years his junior, had visited the Guinness Storehouse and the Galway Races on a holiday in 2004. The idea that he might achieve his football ambitions here would never have crossed his mind.


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