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"You can't expect to get nothing" - upbeat Shields relishing Europa group

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16:36 21 Oct 2020

It may be four years since their last Europa League adventure, but Dundalk midfielder Chris Shields has been struck with the similarity between this year's group and that of 2016. 

For Zenit St. Petersburg, AZ and Maccabi Tel Aviv, read Arsenal, Rapid Vienna and Molde.

First up for the Lilywhites is the challenge of the Norwegian champions at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday night.

Long-term absentee Dane Massey aside, interim coach Filippo Giovagnoli has a full deck to pick from for their opening Group B encounter.

Having missed their playoff round win over KI, Shields is raring to go in Tallaght, even if he'd prefer the game to be played at the Aviva for selfish reasons.

The 29-year old is one of the veterans of the Dundalk side that took 4-points from their last lucrative group run.

"It's quite similar," Shields said of their new schedule, "I believe the last time we drew Zenit who were the highest ranked team in the competition, and I believe Arsenal are this time as well.

"And then you look at Rapid Vienna and Molde, it's much similar to the group we had in 2016 maybe.

"You've got to take each game as it comes, especially these clubs would be still more European-experienced than we are.

"But you can't go in expecting to get nothing, or you'll get nothing. So you have to go in hoping to win points."

Molde, however, are a side that pose threats from all over the field.

While strikers Ohi Omoijuanfo and Leke James are by no means goal-shy, midfielders Etzaz Hussein (6) and Magnus Wolff Eikrem (5) have been chipping in regularly this season.

And Shields knows he'll have his work cut out on Thursday night, particularly against Eikrem.

"Obviously their midfield goals are a strength of theirs," the hard-tackling midfielder said, "They pretty much score from everywhere in the squad, I believe their full-backs even have goals.

"Me, personally, I'll be coming one-on-one against their creative midfielder, and it will be my job to stop them scoring goals.

"As of late, we've seen it in ourselves - Sean Murray especially, he likes this competition, he's started to add more goals to his games.

"And even Greg Sloggett and Patrick McEleney, it's very easy for them to pop up with a goal as well."

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Read more about

Arsenal Chris Shields Dundalk Europa League Filippo Giovagnoli Giovagnoli Molde Sean Murray UEFA Europa League

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