Andy Todd relishing massive challenge against AIK Solna in Europa League renewal

Andy Waterworth scored a late winner in the first leg
Andy Waterworth scored a late winner in the first leg

Linfield assistant manager Andy Todd insists there will be no pressure on Linfield in the second leg oftheir UEFA Europa League test.

The Blues defied the odds by earning a dream 1-0 victory against Swedish favourites AIK Solna on their 100th European appearance at Mourneview Park.

The Windsor Park side now journey to Scandinavia for the return leg of their second qualifying round tie.

Todd, who joined as Warren Feeney’s assistant in the summer, asserts that although Linfield pulled off a deserved victory in the first leg, the pressure is still firmly on their Swedish opponents.

“It was a great performance in the first leg but obviously we don’t want to get too carried away,” said Todd.

“We enjoyed the result but now, our feet are planted firmly on the ground.

“The lads will be focused for the return leg, which will be a very difficult game out there on a large, fast pitch.

“Even though we are leading the tie 1-0, all the pressure is on the opposition.”

One star AIK Solna player that Todd will be familiar with on Thursday evening is captain Nils-Eric Johansson.

The Linfield assistant boss played in defence alongside the 34-year-old Swede during their time at Blackburn Rovers.

Todd revealed that he has given some of his players tips on how to handle the former Swedish international left-back when Linfield come up against his former teammate at Sweden’s national stadium.

“All the players that AIK have at their disposal are quality,” he said.

“I had a chat with Ivan Sproule about what Nils [Johansson] is all about.

“I know Nils inside out. I know what he likes and what he doesn’t like so if I can pass on a bit of information to the players about him, then all well and good.”

“Hopefully we can put in another performance which we produced last Thursday.”