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Larne can get even better in second leg against Aarhus, warns Albert Watson


Albert Watson gets ahead of Aarhus’ David Kurminowski during Thursday’s first leg at Inver

Albert Watson gets ahead of Aarhus’ David Kurminowski during Thursday’s first leg at Inver

Albert Watson gets ahead of Aarhus’ David Kurminowski during Thursday’s first leg at Inver

We’ve done it once and we can do it again — so says Larne defender Albert Watson as he prepares to take on mighty Aarhus in the Europa Conference League again.

The Invermen put in a stunning performance on Thursday night to beat the Danish Superliga team 2-1, with the return leg this Thursday in Jutland.

Davy McDaid once again scored early in Europe and Dean Jarvis doubled the lead before sloppy play late on allowed Aarhus to pull one back.

It means Larne have won all three games in their first foray into European football, conceding just one goal to date.

Bear in mind Aarhus have spent £1.22m this summer in transfer fees and the magnitude of Larne’s victory becomes clearer.

Watson, however, insists it was not a one-off and that Larne are travelling to Aarhus this week with the scent of victory in their nostrils.

“We were fully prepared for the best Aarhus could throw at us,” muses the 35-year-old centre-half.

“We will do exactly the same again and go for a win again this Thursday, as we always do.

“Yes, there could be a backlash and we must be ready. We played well at Inver Park but I thought we could have played better and we must play better again over there.

“I don’t know whether they took us for granted or not, that’s their business, but there is a huge gulf in wage budgets and we knew what to expect.

“When you are up against a team of their calibre, you have to prepare meticulously and we did — very meticulously and it paid off for us.

“We had done our homework on them and we were able to nullify their threat. I thought we could have passed the ball better in the first half, kept possession of it a bit better, but we improved in the second half.

“Defensively we were sound apart from the goal and when Mark Randall, John Herron and Lee Lynch found their rhythm, they were able to pop the ball off and collect it to create openings for Davy McDaid and it worked.”

Aarhus were left reeling as they simply could not get a grip of the game, failing to find purchase and being shut down by a Larne team clearly on the front foot from the off. This was also planned as part of Larne’s new approach to the game, both in Europe and in the Danske Bank Premiership.

“I think Larne got a reputation for playing good football but if you put it up to them, they could struggle,” adds Watson.

“It is something we have worked on and I don’t think Aarhus were used to the physicality of an Irish League team.

“Techically they are very good but I don’t think they have aggressive players like myself and others in our team.

“When I say aggressive, I mean taking the fight to them, never letting them settle, pressing them, being aggressive in tackles and aerial battles and I thought we executed that side of things very well.

“Their manager was very complimentary about us afterwards. I don’t think he expected that from us.”

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