INTERIM Saints boss Scott Ruscoe has admitted he was left disappointed by the manner of his side’s Champions League First Qualifying Round first leg defeat to FC Europa.
Scott Quigley’s wonder goal brought TNS level after the Gibraltan champions took an early lead, but Kike’s goal gave them another crucial away goal, meaning the Saints will need to score a minimum of two goals without conceding.
Ruscoe felt his side were below their normal high standards and need to improve if they are to take their place in the next round.
“Next week is going to be more difficult than we envisaged,” he said. “That wasn’t a true reflection of our play and our last season, ad all the good work we’ve put in in pre-season.
“I’m more disappointed than angry and I’ve told the players they haven’t reached the levels we’re used to, but we’re still in the tie. We’ll work hard in training this week and put things right that went wrong.
“For all of Europa’s good defensive work, I think they’re a team that we, on our day, can beat. There are positives from the game and I know the players can improve another 20-30 per cent.
“We didn’t pass the ball well, we looked nervous in possession. I knew they were good on the counter and we gave them possession twice and they scored twice.
“It just was’t our normal game. We normally have people running behind and creating, but the TNS I know and am used to, I didn’t see a lot of them.”
Ruscoe did have special words for scorer Quigley and is confident the big forward can grab the goals in the second leg to set up a clash with HNK Rijeka from Croatia.
He added: “That goal shows what Scott is all about and that’s why he started. He’ll get chances in the second leg and we’ll be better in the second leg.
“We can go away and beat people by two or three – I’m not concerned by that.
“There might be a new direction for the second leg, whether it be personnel changes or changes to how we do things.
"We’ll watch the game and work out why we didn’t play as well as we should have.”
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