Stephen Kenny says Dundalk's European run has not just "happened overnight"

The Dundalk manager spoke to Newstalk Breakfast

Stephen Kenny says Dundalk's European run has not just "happened overnight"

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Dundalk step into the unknown on Thursday evening when they make their Europa League debut in the Netherlands.

The back-to-back League of Ireland champions face AZ Alkmaar, in their first of six guaranteed in Group D. Dundalk also will play former champions Zenit St. Petersburg and Maccabi Tel-Aviv home and away.

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny spoke to Alan Quinlan on Newstalk Breakfast this morning and is looking for his team to perform well in the six games.

"A narrow defeat is useless to us. It's a league format. You need points on the board. We have a tough task tonight. We're under no illusions."

Dundalk become the second Irish team to compete in the Europa League group stages. Captain Stephen O'Donnell and Ronan Finn played for Shamrock Rovers in the competition in 2011. Kenny is sure that will help the two players.

"The experience from that will help the two players, and also the experience over the last three years that our whole team has gathered. It's not something that has happened overnight. Two year ago we won three European games out of four... Experience can only help you."

Thursday's game is be Dundalk's fifth this month. Despite the lack of preparation ahead of the Alkmaar clash, Kenny says his team are ready.

"The players have been on the road consistently. That's the nature of it. We're not complaining. That's what we have to do. We played [Finn Harps] on Monday night. We play tonight. We view it as a great opportunity."

While Dundalk go into Group D as underdogs, Kenny is not worried about facing the three opponents.

"They are big clubs. We view it in a positive light. We will try and meet every challenge head on."

Shamrock Rovers lost all six games in the competition in 2011. A point for Dundalk would make history.