Lennon - Celtic need to be more clinical

25 November 2013 01:16

Celtic manager Neil Lennon says his side will have to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Hoops face AC Milan at Celtic Park on Tuesday knowing that only a win will be enough if they are to have a chance of grabbing second spot in Group H.

However, Lennon's side, who sit bottom of Group H on three points, have struggled for goals in Europe this season with a return of just two goals from their four matches so far.

And the Celtic boss knows his strikers will need to be on top form if they are to fire the Glasgow giants to victory.

"Tuesday night is about what we do. We need to score more goals. It is an area we have to do better in. We have to do better at home domestically too," Lennon said.

"It's not that we have not had the chances. We probably had more in the Milan game than any other. They are always going to be scarce against Barcelona. Ajax at home was OK but Ajax away we didn't get going until the second half so I'm looking for a huge reaction.

"We must be more clinical but that's what separates the wheat from the chaff in football and usually quality counts.

"They are all pressure games but for us to have any chance of going through, even into the Europa League, we know that a win coupled with Ajax dropping points would guarantee that.

"That's a huge incentive but just winning and adding points gives that bit more credence to what we are doing here. Psychologically it would also give everybody a life.

"Ultimately, if we lose it's goodbye to qualifying. We would then just have to go to the Nou Camp, get a win there and get into the Europa League.

"The players enjoy the pressure and they will galvanise themselves again.

"It's at home, it's a big name in Europe and these chances don't come around often.

"I think they will make the most of it. They don't want this to be their last home game in Europe for another eight or nine months.

"They can find a performance. They have good character and that's what disappointed me about the defeat to Ajax. I know they are a lot better than that.

"But we are still in it - that's the beauty of it. If we can find that level of intensity and performance we have shown in the past, it should be a good game.

"The Champions League is a great event. It's the one you want to stay in and be as successful as possible. We will give it everything."

Milan have struggled domestically this season and slipped to 11th place in Seria A on Saturday following a 1-1 draw with ten-man Genoa.

Pressure is mounting on boss Massimo Allegri who has a lengthy injury list including Marco Amelia, Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio, Giampaolo Pazzini, Antonio Nocerino and Cristian Zaccardo.

However, Lennon has dismissed their domestic form and says the Italian giants reserve their best for Europe.

"I won't use their league form as a barometer. They have reserved their best form for the Champions League. They drew with Barcelona and drew with Ajax," Lennon said.

"The team are full of international class players. I think all off their focus is on the Champions League and once that finishes in December I reckon you will see Milan's league form improve dramatically."

Tuesday (1945 GMT)

Celtic v AC Milan

Source: AFP