Dundalk manager Filippo Giovagnoli has hailed his “gentlemen” after the Lilywhites didn’t commit a single foul against Arsenal on Thursday night.
Dundalk fell to a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Europa League but the League of Ireland side’s performance was praised by Gunners manager Mikel Arteta.
Dundalk showed incredible discipline when dealing with Arsenal’s creative talent and, apparently, it was the first time that a team avoided committing a single foul in a Europa League match since Opta began collating stats in the tournament over a decade ago.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 29, 2020
While Filippo Giovagnoli commended his side for the remarkable piece of history, he insisted that there was no shortage of fight in his players throughout the 90 minutes.
He said: “That’s a compliment and our team is so polite, they are gentlemen but they fought hard and tried to stop the opponent in other ways.
“We were competitive and did not give up until the end.
“We also had the first chance of the game with Patrick McEleney, so I’m happy with the performance and how my players played.
“Defenders are always under pressure in these kinds of games, but they perform. We have to be realistic but I’m happy for what we did in many moments of the game.”
Dundalk held out for 42 minutes but Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock scored before half-time to make the visitors’ challenge even more daunting.
Nicolas Pepe scored immediately after the break to put the game to bed but Giovignali was pleased with much of what he saw on the pitch from his players.
“I think we did well for the first 42 minutes,” Giovignali told RTE.
“There is a little bit of disappointment. We suffered, of course. We had to suffer. But I think think we were decently organised defensively, we didn’t concede one shot until the goal that came from, unfortunately, a corner kick that rebounded between our goalie and our defender.
“Of course then the quality of this fantastic team made the difference, without doubt. We knew it, but I want to congratulate my team and all the players for the way they collaborated, for the performance defensively.”