After two UEFA Europa League play-off defeats in the last three seasons, Heart of Midlothian FC manager John McGlynn is relishing another opportunity to finally reach the competition's group stage, although Liverpool FC will pose a formidable obstacle. Hearts went down 5-0 to Tottenham Hotspur FC in the first leg of last season's play-offs, and McGlynn is determined there will be no repeat at Tynecastle this year against Brendan Rodgers' side with the return at Anfield to come next week.
UEFA.com: How much are you looking forward to the game against Liverpool?
John McGlynn: The feeling is one of anticipation of a special night at Tynecastle. It's a stadium that's witnessed many great European nights and they don't come much bigger than Liverpool. They are a big club with some great players, so we know we're up against it, but it doesn't mean to say we can't compete.
UEFA.com: Much of the pre-match talk has centred on last season's 5-0 defeat against Tottenham here at Tynecastle. How do you ensure that does not happen again?
McGlynn: We can't afford to get into the kind of situation we found ourselves in against Spurs with the tie over after the first half-hour.
We have to make it as difficult as possible for Liverpool, make them a bit nervous hopefully, test their defenders and see if there are any weaknesses we can exploit. We're at home so we have to cause them problems and keep it alive for the second leg.
UEFA.com: Do you draw any encouragement from Liverpool's 3-0 defeat by West Bromwich Albion FC at the weekend or is there a danger there will be a reaction from them?
McGlynn: I suspect it's the latter of those scenarios. Yes, Liverpool are in transition with a new manager, but we have to look after ourselves. When we don't have the ball we have to be disciplined and have a good shape, and when we have the ball we need to be brave enough to think we can cause them problems. One thing is for sure; if we give these guys time on the ball, they'll hurt us.
UEFA.com: How valuable are these European games in terms of what you are trying to build at Hearts?
McGlynn: It is massive. We all learn so much from these games. When you have a young squad like us, these tests are invaluable. The more the players are exposed to these challenges the better they'll become. It's important for Hearts as well because we want to become an established European club. It will be extremely tough to get through but our aim is to go to Anfield with the tie still in the balance.
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