St Patrick’s Athletic boss Liam Buckley said his side can’t use their mid-week Europa League exertions as an excuse for the 2-0 defeat to Drogheda United at home on Sunday. The result sees the Drogs leapfrog Pat’s into second place in the Airtricity Premier Division.
Speaking to Extratime.ie after the game, Buckley said ideally his squad such be good enough to handle the hectic match schedule as they compete on three fronts.
“We have a good squad of players here and we tried to make a few changes from the team that played ion the Europa League but ideally the team should be good enough to win on any given night” he said.
“We were very disappointed as a group so we’ll just have to take a look at it now and see what can be done and where we can improve.”
Despite making six changes from the side that overcame Icelandic opposition IBV over a gruelling 120 minutes on Thursday night, Buckley’s charges failed to break down the Drogheda defence, looked bereft of ideas and conceded two soft goals.
The manager also praised Drogheda’s performance with Mick Cooke’s side now a point ahead of Pat’s and just six points behind Sligo Rovers.
“In fairness to Drogheda they worked extremely hard today”, he said after the game. “They defended well, especially in the second half. Mick has done a great job there and it’s up to us to keep pressure on them now and keep on the heels of Sligo as well.”
Pat’s did not emerge from their dressing room for almost 40 minutes after the final whistle sounded. However the former Sporting Fingal boss said there was no point in being frustrated with his side who dominated possession and territory for long phases of the game, but lacked the final killer pass and clinical finishing.
“We had a good chat about where things we wrong”, he revealed. “In terms of confidence, the lads are all very good and it’s not a case of trying to get their heads up for the next test. They know what they’re capable of.”
It will have to be a quick turnaround for the Saints who are in Europa League action again on Thursday when they travel to Bosnia to take on last season’s runners-up NK Siroki Brijeg. And boss Buckley will be sweating over the fitness of a number of players for the Europa League Round 2 Qualifier.
Striker Christy Fagan watched the defeat to Drogheda from the stands, while defender Pat Flynn was forced off in the first half with concussion and goalkeeper Barry Murphy was replaced at half-time with a finger injury.
Buckley revealed while Murphy’s injury appeared relatively straightforward, it could be a case of wait and see for Flynn.
Read Mick Cooke’s reaction to Sunday’s win and his views on Drogheda United’s fantastic season so far in his weekly column beginning tomorrow, and every Tuesday on Extratime.ie.
Sam joined Extratime for the 2011 season and is now the site's features editor. He is based in Dublin and covers all the clubs in the capital. He is also prone to the odd Drogheda game. If you would like to contact Sam, you can reach him at email@example.com.