Tuesday 21 February 2017

Hoops have to earn Champions League respect, admits Deila

Gavin McCafferty

Published 29/07/2015 | 02:30

Celtic manager Ronny Deila hopes his team use their Champions League experience to their advantage when they host Qarabag tonight
Celtic manager Ronny Deila hopes his team use their Champions League experience to their advantage when they host Qarabag tonight

Celtic manager Ronny Deila hopes his team use their Champions League experience to their advantage when they host Qarabag tonight.

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But the Norwegian has warned that his players are facing a settled side who have some of the characteristics he has pushed to instil in his team.

Qarabag made their debut in the competition last season but went out in the third qualifying round against Salzburg.

Like Celtic, they had a decent experience in the Europa League group stages and only went out because of a poor decision to disallow an injury-time winner against Inter Milan.

Celtic have a far more impressive history in the competition than Gurban Gurbanov's Azerbaijani champions for seven years, but Deila knows his players will have to earn respect in the first leg of the third qualifying round at Parkhead.

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Deila, whose side fell at this stage to Legia Warsaw last year, before losing to Maribor after a reprieve, said: "Nobody is scared before they come, you have to make them scared through good play.

"We have to play our best performance and then we know we can hurt the other team.

"They have consistency in what they do. They have had the same coach for several years. We know we will face a very good opponent.

"They do a lot of things that we want to do. They are very offensive, they have good relations in the team. We just have to do the things we want to do better than them."

Deila has warned that Celtic will need to reach the levels they achieved against Inter, who they held 3-3 at home in the Europa League last season, to see off Qarabag.

Midfielder Stuart Armstrong scored in that game, on his home debut, and is keen to emulate the overall performance.

"It's good to have a bit of a build-up and have in your mind how we need to prepare, what kind of team we are facing and what big performances are expected," the former Dundee United midfielder said.

"The game was a lot faster and there was a lot of pressure, but it was more excitement I felt and I'm sure it will be the same in this match." Meanwhile, Deila refused to rule out letting 19-year-old midfielder Liam Henderson go out on loan again. Henderson spent several months at Rosenborg this year and has been linked with a temporary move to Dundee United.

"We will see what kind of options we have," Deila said. "Things change very quickly in football. We just have to be good at planning and be aware of everything.

"First of all I want him to play for Celtic. This is not about Liam, this is about the whole squad.

"We will see what is best for certain individuals and also the team."

Irish Independent

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