Hansen ignoring mind games

BY foxsports • July 24, 2013

Watford have completed a double signing, snapping up midfielder Iriney from Granada and defender Joel Ekstrand from Udinese.

Brazilian Iriney, 32, who has spent time with Real Betis, Celta Vigo and Rayo Vallecano, joins for an undisclosed fee and pens a deal to keep him at the club until 2015.

Ekstrand's move is made permanent after the Swedish defender spent all of last season on loan with the Hornets, making 36 appearances in all competitions. He has signed a three-year deal at Vicarage Road.

Meanwhile, former Watford defender Carl Dickinson has joined Port Vale.

Despite leading their Europa League second qualifying round tie 1-0 from the first leg in Trondheim, Perth manager Tommy Wright claims the visitors to McDiarmid Park on Thursday night remain the favourites to progress.

And the Northern Irishman tried to turn the pressure on Saints' opponents when he claimed it would be a "disaster" for the former Champions League quarter-finalists if they did not march on to a third qualifying round meeting with either Valletta of Malta or Belarusians FC Minsk.

But Hansen dismissed the suggestion his side are on top, insisting their hopes hang in the balance.

He said: "Our chances are 50-50. St Johnstone say we are favourites? Ok, nice. If you ask a Scotsman what they think of Norwegian and Scottish football, which is the best, they will say Scottish football is better.

"There is obviously going to be mind games but we are 100 per cent focused on ourselves."

The Norwegian league leaders' flight into Edinburgh hours was delayed by almost two hours this afternoon but Hansen insisted the hold-up would not disadvantage his squad.

Rosenborg trail to a goal by Saints defender Frazer Wright but aim to attack their hosts.

Hansen said: "There is no problem with the delay. Our squad is 100 per cent fit, so we are doing well ahead of this match. The tie is 180 minutes - we have played just 90. So we are one down but hopeful of beating St Johnstone.

"St Johnstone is a good club, they have been the number three club here in Scotland and beat Celtic last season. They have a good goalkeeper and a smart forward in Steven MacLean.

"So we know it won't be easy as they have many good players. But our goal is to win tomorrow."


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