Lennon hopes players are over defeat

19 September 2012 07:17

Neil Lennon is hoping his Celtic side have shrugged off the effects of their shock weekend loss to St Johnstone for tonight's Champions League Group G opener against Benfica at Parkhead.

The Hoops boss was raging after the 2-1 defeat at McDiarmid Park left his side with just two Clydesdale Bank Premier League wins in their first five games.

Lennon knows his team will have to improve markedly against the Portuguese club if they want to get off to a good start in a section which also includes Barcelona and Spartak Moscow. The former Celtic skipper said: "The sign of a good team is who you come back from a defeat and I am looking for a reaction."

"They know that the level of performance (in Perth) was not acceptable, I don't want to see that again," he added.

"They are entitled to a day off, a bad game but in the main I've been pretty pleased with the contributions this season.

"There shouldn't be any nerves, this is a competition that the players look forward to playing in, to challenge themselves against the best clubs in Europe and Benfica certainly come into that category.

"What I want to see is the team playing as well as they can. I want to see them express themselves, play the football that they know they are capable of and hopefully improve on Saturday's performance."

Source: PA