John Caulfield: Legia Warsaw 'the toughest draw we could have got'

John Caulfield: Legia Warsaw 'the toughest draw we could have got'
Cork Manager John Caulfield raises the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division trophy. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Cork City manager John Caulfield feels that Legia Warsaw were the toughest possible opponents the Rebel Army could have been given in the Champions League first qualifying round.

At this morning’s draw in Nyon in Switzerland, City were drawn first against the Polish side, with the first leg take place on either Tuesday, July 10 or Wednesday, July 11 with the second leg a week later in Warsaw.

While it will be City’s first time to face a Polish side in Europe, it will be the third time in five years that Legia will have met Irish opposition – they met St Patrick’s Athletic in 2014 and Dundalk in 2016, winning both ties.

Of the 16 seeded sides that City could have face, Caulfield believes that Legia are the strongest.

“It’s the toughest draw we could have got,” he said.

“They have [Artur] Jędrzejczyk and [Michal] Pazdan in the Poland World Cup squad, there two more in the extended squad, that shows the level they’re at.

“Two years ago against Dundalk in the Aviva Stadium, they were superb, they played Dundalk off the park, though Dundalk did do better in the second leg. With the way the seeding was, we knew that we could get a draw like this, we had already done some work on them and we’ll make sure that we’re prepared accordingly.

“Our fans will love going to Warsaw and we’re looking forward to the challenge.” 

Playing at home first is something Caulfield hopes City can use to their advantage.

“It’ll be their first game back and they’ll have the lads coming from the World Cup,” he said, “so you’d hope in front of a packed Turner’s Cross we can put pressure on them.

“They’re a quality team but we’ve always acquitted ourselves well in Europe. It’s the Champions League, it’s where you want to be.”

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