UCD manager Maciej Tarnogrodzki urged his players to keep believing that they can avoid relegation, after Friday's 2-0 defeat to Sligo Rovers at the UCD Bowl left them on the brink of the drop. The Students are now six points behind Finn Harps, who
UCD manager Maciej Tarnogrodzki urged his players to keep believing that they can avoid relegation, after Friday's 2-0 defeat to Sligo Rovers at the UCD Bowl left them on the brink of the drop.
The Students are now six points behind Finn Harps, who they play next. That gap, added to the fact that UCD have a far inferior goal difference, makes the clash in Ballybofey must-win for Tarnogrodzki's side.
"You need to believe until the end," he told our reporter Peter Branigan.
"Many things happen in football, and we still have a chance."
The defeat to Sligo was a frustrating one for the College manager. They had held their own in the opening half an hour, and had seen the visitors reduced to ten men after Ronan Murray was sent off.
And yet they fell behind following a mistake by goalkeeper Conor Kearns, who appeared to punch the ball into his own net from a corner.
"Conor will be disappointed with that goal, no doubt about that," according to Tarnogrodzki.
"The player from Sligo didn't even know he had scored, because he had his back to our goal."
And the mistake was compounded on the stroke of half-time, as UCD lost possession on the edge of the visitor's box.
Sligo broke, and Romeo Parkes showed a touch of class before scoring his eleventh of the campaign.
"It was disappointing, because we pushed them, and they defended very deep in the box.
"It was a killer mistake. You don't pass the ball in a crowded space. You need to keep the ball, and go around that compacted Sligo team, and go into wide areas.
"We mis-passed the ball, and they countered."
To their credit, UCD piled on the pressure in the second-half as Sligo sat deep and defended their advantage.
But Ed McGinty, who gave an assured performance between the sticks for Rovers, was rarely troubled, while at the other end Sligo looked dangerous on the break.
Tarnogrodzki contended that there was enough there to give him hope heading to Donegal for that relegation six-pointer at the start of next month.
But he also accepted that his team lacked that little something against Liam Buckley's Extra.ie FAI Cup semi-finalists.
"I don't think, based upon the way we played, it was what we deserved. We created enough, we had enough ball to do something with it in the second-half especially.
"We had the ball in the box so many times. We just didn't show enough quality with finishing, or enough cutting edge to get back into the game.
"If we scored in the second-half, maybe with 20 minutes to go, we would have a chance, but it didn't happen."