Lomas ready for tough return leg

PA Sport
Steve Lomas was happy with his side's efforts despite defeat in Turkey
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Steve Lomas was happy with his side's efforts despite defeat in Turkey

St Johnstone boss Steve Lomas admits his side face a tough task to qualify for the next stage of the Europa League after losing 2-0 in the first leg of their second qualifying round to Eskisehirspor, but also maintains his players will not give up hope.

The Saints set out their stall to defend in the Ataturk Stadium but conceded a goal in each half with Alper Potuk and Veysel Sari both scoring deflected efforts.

Lomas was happy with the commitment shown by his players and bemoaned their luck at the back. He said: "I thought we contained them and obviously two deflected goals is a cruel blow."

He added: "The lads stuck to their game plan and we were never going to be able to come here and play open and attacking football because Eskisehirspor are a very good team with a lot of good players.

"I was disappointed for the lads, I thought they put in a manful effort and didn't get the rub of the green.

"It was very cruel in the 41st minute just before half-time but I thought the lads came out and did well again before another cruel deflection and you know, that's football. Sometimes you get a bit of luck but we didn't."

The second leg takes place at McDiarmid Park next week with St Johnstone knowing they will have to improve on their two efforts on goal in Turkey.

Despite what will undoubtedly prove an uphill battle for the Perth side, Lomas believes that the next round is not yet out of reach.

"We know it is going to be very hard but it is still alive, if we get a goal who knows?," he said.

"I thought the lads were magnificent, one to 11 and the subs. We worked on a game plan and stuck to it. But for two deflections, I didn't think they had too many efforts on goal which is credit to the lads' resistance."

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