Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Dundalk FC manager Stephen Kenny feels his team will be 'exceptional' this season, but he insists that they will have to 'earn the right' to be successful.
The Lilywhites opened their SSE Airtricity League Premier Division campaign with a scoreless draw at home to Bray Wanderers on Friday night, a match in which frustration built to palpable levels around Oriel Park.
And, speaking to The Democrat on Sunday, Kenny insisted that nobody should lose sight of where the club has come from when judging their current performances on the pitch.
"We need to understand where we have come from. All of a sudden, even at the ground the other night, I think there is an air of entitlement sometimes. We have to earn every victory and we must cherish every victory because they're hard to come by," Kenny said.
"All this talk about winning leagues every year and all of that, that's not real life. There's nothing wrong with having that ambition, but it's a tough league and every week you have to earn it (your results) and everyone must realise that.
"We don't want that air of complacency setting in. Don't forget we were bottom of the league as a club six-years ago and were in the First Division before that so nobody has any right to success.
"Ultimately, the players are being paid along the same lines, more or less, that they have always been paid. Obviously Shamrock Rovers made offers. They threw the kitchen sink at Seán Gannon and made offers to Brian Gartland and people like that. We have to keep our best players and obviously, there are increasing costs as we have moved from 40-week contracts to 52 which is the same as the other top clubs, Rovers, Cork, etc.
"We're disappointed not to have beaten Bray and it's one where we feel we let two-points get away from us, but it's a 36-match season and this thing that you need to win in the first (so many matches), we need to get away from that and focus on the players enjoying their football and going to win matches.
"We don't need that 'almost arrogance' that we're coming in (to win easily). I mean someone was shouting at me after 15-minutes the other day. We have never had that before (especially not during) the first day of the season. I heard one of the players getting a bit of stick over the two games and that's not Dundalk Football Club as I know it.
"I know it to be where supporters get behind the team even when we're losing. That's what has made us great and we must not lose sight of where we have come from.
"We need everyone pulling in the right direction and everyone being positive because this will be a great team this season. It just needs to take shape and to get fellas back, but it will be a really exceptional team," he added.
The Dundalk manager also revealed that he intends to sign a new striker this week with the aim of having him available for Friday night's visit to Shamrock Rovers.
That is expected to be the club's only piece of business before Thursday's transfer deadline.