Friday 27 April 2018

St Pat's scoreline flattered us, claims Legia boss Berg

Legia Warszawa manager Henning Berg
Legia Warszawa manager Henning Berg

Garry Doyle

The Legia Warsaw manager Henning Berg expects a much sterner test in Murrayfield next week than he received in Tallaght on Wednesday.

Having masterminded his Polish side to an embarrassingly easy 5-0 win over St Patrick's Athletic, Berg has earned the right to enter battle with Celtic in the Champions League third round tie.

And having soldiered in Glasgow with the other side of the Old Firm, the Norwegian is fully aware of what lies ahead.

"Of course it will be difficult for us," said Berg.

"Most people would regard Celtic as a much stronger team than St Patrick's.

"I happened to think St Patrick's played quite well on Wednesday, but the scoreline flattered us to some degree. Celtic, however, will be a step-up. They will be hard to beat, but at least they no longer have Henrik Larsson."

Nor do they have home advantage with the presence of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow forcing the Scottish champions to relocate temporarily to Murrayfield.

"That won't be a distraction for them," said Berg. "They will still have 60,000 fans and will still pack the place out.


"I know Scottish football having played there. Celtic are a good club and will be considered favourites. Only a year ago they beat Barcelona remember."

Two nights ago, however, Legia didn't just beat St Pat's. They delivered a five-goal humiliation.

"We showed a bit of fear to be honest," said Saints' defender, Derek Foran "and we know we can play much better football than that, but we didn't.

"Whether it was the occasion that got to us, playing against a good team like them, I'm not too sure, but we showed too much respect to them.

"We didn't get on the ball as much as we should and in the second half we just crumbled after losing Kenny (Browne) and Ger (O'Brien) in our backline. That was a massive blow.

"No disrespect to the lads who came on, but in the middle of a game like that, we just lost shape and they punished us."

They certainly did, scoring three times in the final 10 minutes of the game to destroy whatever hopes Pat's had of a date with Celtic, ambitions which had risen after the creditable 1-1 draw in the first leg in Warsaw.

"I think over there they kind of disrespected us in a way," said Foran.

"They expected to come out and beat us, but we worked our socks off and got everything we deserved and should have won. But over here they were up for it and deserved it more than we did."

Irish Independent

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