Tommy Wright wants St Johnstone to seize on chances

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright
Spartak Trnava's celebrations in Perth made Wright think his opponents believe the tie is already won
Europa League 3rd qualifying round 2nd leg
Venue: Štadión Antona Malatinského, Trnava. Date: Thursday, 7 August. Kick-off: 18:30 BST.
Coverage: Updates on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB & BBC Sport website

Tommy Wright hopes St Johnstone's opponents Spartak Trnava will be so confident of scoring against his team that they may leave gaps to exploit.

The Perth side last week and must score at least twice in Slovakia to progress.

"They'll fancy their chances that they can score against us and that should give us opportunities," he said.

"At 2-1 up, they probably feel the tie is over."

The Saints manager said the way the Slovak side celebrated their win in Scotland suggests they will be confident of going through to the final stage of Europa League qualification.

And he believes his players must perform much better to have a chance of overturning the deficit.

"We've got to do a lot better. We contributed to our own downfall," he told BBC Scotland.

"They are very comfortable on the ball. We lost the ball in bad areas.

"When we did put them under pressure I felt they didn't cope with it particularly well.

"The key for us is how we play when we have the ball and we've got to get further up the pitch and put them under pressure. The bottom line is we have to play better than we did last week."

Wright expects to have a full squad available to him, other than injured midfielder Murray Davidson.

Tommy Wright and Stevie May
Manager Tommy Wright could do with Stevie May's firepower on Thursday in Slovakia

Stevie May, despite the transfer talks taking place with Rotherham, should be in the squad. Chris Millar will have a fitness test but should be ready for Thursday's match.

Wright admitted Rotherham "have been persistent and keep coming back to the door" to buy Saints' top striker.

"Negotiations are still ongoing. Any deal with Rotherham or any other club wouldn't affect Thursday," explained Wright.

"He has indicated that he wants to play in this game. He is still a St Johnstone player and there is work going on in the background between the two clubs, but there is no deal finalised yet.

"If it was his last game, let's hope he goes out with a bang."

St Johnstone captain Dave Mackay echoed his manager's hopes that the team can trouble Spartak Trnava.

He said: "It's going to be a very difficult tie. We know we need to score two goals to have a chance of progressing.

"At some time we have to open up but hopefully we can keep it tight at the back early on and nick an early goal.

"Hopefully we'll get chances to exploit them a bit more and take the tie into at least extra time.

"The three years we have been in Europe, our better performances have been away from home."