Daly sets group stage target

PA Sport
Jon Daly has cited Shamrock Rovers as inspiration for Dundee United's Europa League bid
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Jon Daly has cited Shamrock Rovers as inspiration for Dundee United's Europa League bid

Dundee United captain Jon Daly has targeted the group stages of the Europa League as the Terrors start their qualification campaign against Dinamo Moscow at Tannadice Park, citing Irish minnows Shamrock Rovers' run last year as inspiration

United finished fourth in the Scottish Premier League last campaign and enter the third qualifying round of this season's Europa League with a difficult draw against Dinamo. Daly, 29, was part of the United sides that lost to Polish side Slask Wroclaw in last season's competition on away goals and pushed Greek giants AEK Athens close two years ago.

He said: "After a long, hard season when you try and qualify for Europe, when you get there you want to qualify for the group stages and you want to get as far as you can. We look at Shamrock Rovers last year and what they did, they got to the group stages and got some big games and that is what you want to do."

He added: "Obviously we have been given a tough tie this time but we believe we can go into the two games and get the victory and push on to the next round. I think we have got that extra year's experience and we have been there the last two seasons and we have players in the side who have been there and know what it is all about now."

On Wednesday United's boss Peter Houston suggested keeping a clean sheet in the home leg could prove vital if the Scottish side are to advance and Daly echoed his manager's comments.

"I think we first and foremost need to defend well and try and keep a clean sheet," he said. "If we get a chance at the other end (we need to) hopefully take it because they are a good side and they have got some good international players who could cause us problems.

"I think it is very important that we keep a clean sheet at home and give ourselves something to go over to Moscow and hold onto."

Gavin Gunning and Gary Mackay-Steven have been passed fit to line up for United and former Hartlepool frontman Daly believes the latter could have an impact on the outcome of the tie.

"He is a very important player for us and I think last season when he broke into the side he showed what he was capable of," he said. "We are looking for him to kick on this year and carry on and do what he does best and have a go at teams.

"I think over the two legs he is going to be a big player and we know on the day he can create chances for us and we are just hoping he does what he does best."

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