We will be ready next year, Deila prom­ises Celtic fans

Man­ager in­sists club is close to making some real progress on Euro­pean stage

The Herald - Sport - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW LIND­SAY CHIEF FOOT­BALL WRITER

RONNY DEILA last night in­sisted he can bounce back from Celtic’s exit from the Europa League and lead the Park­head club into the Cham­pi­ons League group stages next sea­son.

The Scot­tish cham­pi­ons’ hopes of pro­gress­ing to the last 32 of the com­pe­ti­tion slumped to a 2-1 de­feat to Ajax at Celtic Park in their penul­ti­mate Group A match.

The re­sult will in­ten­sify pres­sure on Deila, whose side has failed to win any of their five group games and is bot­tom spot in their sec­tion, as man­ager.

He failed to take them into the group stages of the Cham­pi­ons League ear­lier in the 2015/16 cam­paign when they lost to Swedish cham­pi­ons Malmo in the play-off. How­ever, the Nor­we­gian stated that he has seen signs of im­prove­ment in his side and is con­fi­dent that he can se­cure a spot along­side Euro­pean foot­ball’s elite at the third time of ask­ing next term.

“We are go­ing to be ready next year,” said Deila. “That’s the mes­sage to all the fans and that’s the task I have here with ev­ery­body else at this foot­ball club.

“I know it’s small de­tails. I could see a lot of good spells in this per­for­mance, but I know we need to be bet­ter with the small de­tails to win games. I feel we are very close, but it’s not good enough right now.

“But I be­lieve we will be ready for the Cham­pi­ons League next sea­son. I can see it’s only small de­tails.

“If you can see the big pic­ture you’ll see that also. But next year we are go­ing to be bet­ter than teams like Malmo. This makes me have a lot of en­ergy to bounce back which I have done many times in my ca­reer. I will do it here as well.”

He added: “I think a lot of peo­ple sees the whole pic­ture. I think they see a lot of progress with McGre­gor com­ing through and also KT.

They can see Simunovic can be a very good cen­tral de­fender with Stu­art Arm­strong get­ting bet­ter. Leigh Grif­fiths scores a lot of goals.

“But I know that we haven’t been good enough with the small de­tails. We have con­ceded easy goals but in Europe you get pun­ished very hard and that’s the learn­ing curve. And that’s what we need to be bet­ter on when we, hope­fully, go into the Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion.”

Deila added: “Two points from five games is not good enough, but you have to see through the re­sults. Ajax away, that wasn’t a bad game and we had it un­til we went down to 10 men.

“Ev­ery­one knows what hap­pened with Fener­bahce at home, but the two games against Molde were not good enough. Be­low Celtic stan­dard. There was a lot of good foot­ball here, but we were caught in the end by sim­ple mis­takes. It looks a bit im­ma­ture, if you can say that.”

Pic­ture: SNS

DOWN AND OUT: Leigh Grif­fiths buries his head in­side his jer­sey af­ter Celtic’s Europa League hopes came to a jud­der­ing halt at home to Ajax.

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