Dundalk boss Filippo Giovagnoli admitted his hesitation in bringing on fresh players cost his side dear as they started their Europa League Group B campaign with a 2-1 defeat to Norwegian champions Molde.

The League of Ireland Premier Division champions are competing in this stage of the competition for the first time in four years and went ahead through Sean Murray’s glancing header in the 35th minute at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin.

But their opponents were much improved following half-time and Etzaz Hussain’s deflected volley levelled matters just after the hour before Ohi Omoijuanfo’s 72nd-minute penalty helped Molde claim all three points.

With Dundalk over-run in the second half, Giovagnoli was left to wonder whether he could have turned to his bench before Molde started to gain a foothold.

“I could have done something better with the substitutions, maybe I had to do something earlier,” the Italian told Virgin Media Sport.

“It was for me a really tough night because I couldn’t coach, I had to stay behind, I couldn’t say much, I couldn’t support the team really well. I really suffered tonight but I think Europe is going to be like that.”

Giovagnoli insists he is not looking ahead to next week’s trip to Arsenal as Dundalk take on Waterford on Sunday, saying: “One step at a time.”

Giovagnoli believes the fixture schedule is doing his side no favours as he added: “It’s complicated to prepare games and also you have to really pay attention with the health of the players, you don’t want to have injuries.

“You have to be really careful to manage them, they are young but when they play a lot of games it’s a problem.”