Filippo Giovagnoli feels Dundalk's recent performances in the UEFA Europa League shows they can mix with European giants.
The Lilywhites conceded two late goals in losing 4-3 away to Rapid Vienna in their latest Group B game.
Dave McMillan equalled Glen Crowe's record of ten European goals with a pair of penalties in the Austrian capital.
But it was a night to forget between the posts for goalkeeper, Aaron McCarey.
Dundalk remain bottom of their group after three games, but Giovagnoli is confident a first point of the campaign remains just around the corner.
"Now we understand that we can compete", the Italian told reporters after the game, "Because we performed.
"We were not afraid, we came with a plan, we played with soccer. And unfortunately the result was not good for us, but looking forward now in the future, in the next three games with more positivity."
Giovagnoli was confident at half-time that his side would leave the Austrian capital with at least a point, but admitted that mistakes in Europe can be doubly costly.
McCarey was given the chance by Giovagnoli as Gary Rogers had played both the games with Arsenal and St. Pat's.
Despite a couple of costly errors, the interim head coach praised the performance of his stand-in keeper's distribution.
I don't rotate because I am crazy
But Giovagnoli bristled at the suggestion his rotation of his custodians was a needless one, "I'm not constantly changing the keeper.
"After Arsenal, we were talking about Gary making a mistake, after St. Pat's the same thing.
"All the time we do something, you guys [the media] have something to say, right? Whatever thing I do, it doesn't work for you.
"If I make some decisions, it's because we need to make some decisions.
"Gary [Rogers] played two games in 5-6 days, it was the time to put another goalie in goal. And Aaron deserved to be in there. That's it. Finished.
"I don't rotate because I am crazy. I rotate because there is a reason why. And the reason is, you cannot play 3-4 games in ten days, in twelve days.
"Even if you recover a little bit physically, then cognitively you can miss, you can commit mistake[s], you are exposed. It's this."
Captain Chris Shields won universal praise for his performance in Vienna, and not just for the wonderfully weighted assist for Hoban's opener.
It was a showing not lost on his boss, "Oh my God, Shieldsy was amazing.
His performance was unbelievable. But the performance of the team was unbelievable. They were great.
"We played without fear. We tried to win the game. We tried to win the game against Rapid Vienna away!
"I don't know, guys, if you understand the difference between a club like Dundalk, and a club like Rapid Vienna, like Arsenal, like Molde.
"Are you checking the budget? Are you checking the value? Are you checking everything? It's important to understand this.
"And it's a big merit of our players, that they are able to compete against these giants.
"I have an amazing group of players, I am so proud of them. But still the difference is there - resources, everything.
"We have to be honest. Then if you say we have to go everywhere, and win everywhere.... that's fine, that's fine."