Ruscoe identifies Midtyjlland strengths ahead of Europa League qualifier
The New Saints boss Scott Ruscoe says he has done his homework on Danish champions FC Midtyjlland ahead of the UEFA Europa League qualifier tomorrow.
The winners of the tie will play either Malmo of Sweden or Videton of Hungary in the Play-Off round of the UEFA Europa League.
Danish side FC Midtyjlland have already played The New Saints before, having recorded an 8-3 aggregate victory over the Welsh champions back in 2011
Ruscoe said: “They’re a very good side. I’ve looked at a few things like statistical analysis, where they choose players on set plays and where they create chances from, the Moneyball aspect.
They’ve got a lot of novel ideas on how they do things, it’s nice in this modern age of football.”
Ruscoe was present in both legs when FC Midtyjlland beat The New Saints seven years ago he came up against central midfielder Jakob Poulsen, who will captain the Danes on Thursday, this time, however, Ruscoe will be in the dugout.
6 ft 7 Nigerian striker Paul Onuachu who was the clubs second highest goal scorer last season has also been touted as someone who could cause a lot of threat to the Welsh side tomorrow evening
“They’ve got the experience of Jakob Poulsen in the midfield, he’s the driving force.
He’s the dictator of how they play, they play with a back three, we’ve gotta be standing up to the test, our players have got to be up in the nine and tens to be anywhere near this three.
They’re very good at set plays, the big boy at the front, Paul Onuachu, they’ve got two very good players that play off him.”
The Wolves returned to Danish SuperLiga action on Saturday, playing and defeating Esbjerg.
They were able to rest seven players, with only four players remaining from starting the second leg in their home draw with Astana, which knocked them out of the UEFA Champions League.
“I’ve seen clips of them and the threats that can hurt us, they played Astana and very nearly got to the next round of the Champions League.
They played four players from the previous game, that tells you that they’ve got a very big squad and they trust their players to leave seven players out of their starting line up and still win 3-1 in their National League they’re very strong.”
Midtyjlland reached the group stages of the UEFA Europa League in 2016, going out in the Round of 16 to eventual winners Manchester United, despite their exit they secured victory over the Red Devils in one leg.
Many of the players who played then are still involved now, including manager Jess Thorup.
For Ruscoe though, this is just his second campaign as New Saints boss, taking over from now Bangor City boss Bangor City.
“To manage in your second season here against a top side, against a team that beat Manchester United two years ago.
It’s something that I’m proud of because I worked hard to get here and when you get here you don’t want to let yourself down.”
With the homework and dossier done from Midtyjlland, Ruscoe has concluded that the side is good at set plays, with a long throw-in their artillery.
They are versatile and offer something new to the game and a huge factor to that is the Moneyball System, which chairman Matthew Benham introduced, which identifies the right players to sign based on statistics.
“This team have got a very good long throw, they’ve got set plays that they work on. Every time you watch them in a different game they’ve got something new.
They are very good at it and that’s why they are the best at taking free-kicks, throwing the ball, heading the ball, playing on the counter, they specialise in what they do.”
It’s going to be a difficult task. We need to play a game they aren’t used to playing then you get a foothold in a game. We’ve got some good set plays as well, we’re not here to just make the numbers up, we’re here to provide for our fans and Wales.
I am here to say we will stick to our game plan and as much as we can, play to our maximum, playing at nine and tens, we can have a go at them, that’s all I can ask from them.”
(Featured Image: Brian Jones of The New Saints FC)