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Lennon: We need a miracle

06 Mar 2013 08:47:25

Lennon: We need a miracle

Neil Lennon admits it will take a "minor miracle" for Celtic to overcome Juventus' three-goal lead in Wednesday night's Champions League last 16 clash in Turin.

The Hoops travelled to Italy with hope in their heart after a devastating 3-0 first leg defeat in Glasgow but are odds-on to exit the competition. The Parkhead boss is desperate for his side to win the game but knows that the margin required to take them through into the next round is probably asking too much from his players.

"It would be a tall order to win the tie 4-0 or 4-1 but we are capable of winning the game and that's what we would like to do," said Lennon. "If we win it would equal the club record (of wins in Europe in a season)."

He added: "Juventus are top of the league again and the draw could have been kinder to us but we want to close the gap on the scoreline and we will have to play at our optimum level to do that.

"It is a fantastic game to play in. We may not be here again as a group, you are playing the champions of Italy who are a very good team so enjoy it. Enjoy the stadium, enjoy the atmosphere, don't be intimidated.

"Go and play, the pressure is really off so try to restore some respectability in the tie, play your football and win the game. So we have a lot to play for, there is a lot of incentives, however, to qualify would take a minor miracle."

Juventus coach Antonio Conte refused to admit that his side are as good as through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006.

"We've only played 90 (minutes) and we have another 90, plus maybe extra time and penalties, against a strong, proud team who will want to make amends for first leg," he said. "There is a quarter-final to be reached so we definitely won't underestimate this game.

"It's going to be a test for everybody, starting with me, then the players and the club. Certainly the first leg has given us a seriously good chance of reaching the next round, but in football, there are always surprises if you don't play with the right determination and concentration.

"Celtic are a very physical side and can create lots of problems from set-pieces. We've got to be fully focused because we want to go through and so we've got to give it everything."


PA

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