Lennon expects tough test from Braga

19 July 2010 05:51
eil Lennon has warned his players they will face a team focused on attack when they play Sporting Braga in the Champions League next week.

Braga finished second behind Benfica in the Portuguese league last season after leading the way for much of the campaign.

But a place in the Champions League third qualifying round was still a huge achievement for coach Domingos Paciencia.

Braga lost home and away to Swedish side Elfsborg to exit the Europa League qualifiers at the first hurdle last term, but navigated their way through the UEFA Cup group stages in the two previous years.

"They had a decent run in the UEFA Cup in the last few years and had some decent results," Lennon told the official Celtic website.

"They are a very attack-minded team, score a lot of goals and are technically very good.

"And they finished second in the Portuguese league, which is probably their best finish ever, so they will be full of confidence.

"I know they have a new coach and have brought in a quite a few new players, so we will be working in the background trying to get as much information on them as we can.

"But I think it's a decent draw for us as well. No matter who you get at this stage - we were unseeded, so they were in the seeded group - they are going to be a quality team.

"Logistically, it's okay as it's only a two-hour flight and that will work in our favour.

"And the fact that it's away first, I am pleased about as well, so we will go over there and try to get a decent result."

Lennon does not look likely to bring in any more new additions in time to face Braga in Portugal, with Mexico international Efrain Juarez still to complete the formalities of his move despite undergoing a medical.

Any major decisions in the coming days will focus on outgoing transfers after La Liga newcomers Hercules made a move for Georgios Samaras and Blackpool reportedly bid for Paddy McCourt.

Both players have a year left on their contracts and McCourt has been offered a new deal, while Lennon is contemplating keeping Samaras after his bright pre-season displays on the club's North American tour.

Lennon still has an offer on the table for former England defender Sol Campbell, and has not closed the door on Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard.

Bullard's financial demands put paid to his loan move but he may now be reflecting further on his future after being left out of Hull's squad for their pre-season trip to Portugal.

The Celtic manager has already signed full-backs Charlie Mulgrew and Cha Du-Ri as well as striker Daryl Murphy and midfielder Joe Ledley.

Cardiff boss Dave Jones will continue to pursue compensation for 23-year-old midfielder Ledley, despite Celtic's confidence that they do not need to pay a fee.

Ledley, who has become embroiled in a public dispute with former Cardiff chairman Peter Ridsdale over the history of his contract talks, left City after his deal expired.

But Jones told Sky Sports News: "We'll now be fighting the compensation rule, and we have got to try to get some money for a player who has been at this club since the age of nine."

Source: Team_Talk