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No Pressure On Underdogs
St Johnstone take on a Rosenborg side who are 16 games into their season and top their league. Can the new manager get his first competitive win?
St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus will go into tonight's game with Rosenborg knowing from first-hand experience that they are capable of pulling off a surprise win if they battle their way through their first competitive matches of the season. Saints are underdogs in their Europa League second qualifying round tie against the Norwegian side, who are top of their domestic league after 16 games. But Mannus has fought against the odds in Europe throughout his career with Linfield, Shamrock Rovers and now St Johnstone. The Northern Ireland international helped Rovers beat Israeli side Bnei Yehuda and set up a glamour tie in the 2010 competition, before joining Saints ahead of the Irish side's unlikely charge to the Europa League group stages.He said: "I've had some good results over the years. Probably the best was with Shamrock Rovers when we played an Israeli team and drew 1-1 at home. The draw was made before the second leg and the winners came out against Juventus. We weren't given much chance to go through because they were a good team and the weather was very hot but we won 1-0. They were all over us but we ended up getting Juventus in the next round. It was just a battle for us, we battled through. It's difficult these kind of games because Rosenborg are already into their season. The thing I found with Shamrock, whenever we went into European games we were halfway through our season so you know what your starting 11 is going to be, you know how you will set up and everyone is comfortable with the way you are playing and you are in your rhythm. It makes it a bit more difficult when you haven't had a competitive game yet but anything can happen. We are still a good team with good players and hopefully we can do a good job."St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright will oversee his first game sine replacing Steve Lomas in Trondheim but Mannus is glad the transition has been seamless. He said: "I felt the last year or so, if Steve Lomas had moved on, Tommy would have been a good person to take over. At times he became the manager whenever Lomas was suspended or wasn't there, so people have seen what he was like in that position. I think he has the right mentality and personality - he is not someone who is going to take things lightly, he is not afraid what he needs to say or hurt people's feelings."
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