Hoops boss will go for broke to pull off Europa Italian Job
UDINESE v CELTIC Europa League Group I Thursday, ESPN, 8.05pm
NEIL LENNON will tell his Celtic side to go on the attack in their quest for European progress on Thursday.
The Hoops take on Serie A joint leaders Udinese – with victory a must for them to advance in the competition.
With Atletico Madrid already through, Celtic are vying with the Italians to join them in the knockout stages.
The results of Group I, however, are subject to the verdict from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the case between FC Sion and UEFA.
Udinese are currently three points ahead of Celtic, but the Parkhead side would go through on head-to-head record with victory in Italy.
And Lennon is determined they’ll give it their best shot.
He said: “We have to win it. A draw or a defeat is no good to us.
“We have to be respectful of the opposition, who are top of Serie A, so they are obviously an excellent side.
“I think we can set up to be a little bit more adventurous with our own approach.
“The pressure is off and the players can go and hopefully express themselves and do the club justice.”
Celtic are in good form domestically, having won the past six SPL games, scoring 13 goal in the process.
But Lennon knows his side must find a way past keeper Samir Handanovic and stop Italy striker Antonio Di Natale to make it through.
He added: “They are very strong in midfield. They have great strength, athleticism and quality – and counterattack quickly. Added to that, they have a brilliant goalkeeper. I think he is one of the best in the world.
“I remember him from the last World Cup for Slovenia – he was fantastic – and he pulled off three or four unbelievable saves here.
“He gives them a great foundation to build on.
“And with people like Di Natale in the team, there’s always a goal threat at the other end.”