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Lennon aware of task facing Hoops
Published : 01 Dec 2011 07:16:56Rss feed
Neil Lennon has not given up hope of Celtic progressing to the last 32 of the Europa League with a win away to Udinese next month although he admits it will be a "tall order."
Following Wednesday night's 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid the Hoops now have to beat the Italian club on December 15 to leapfrog them into second place. But Celtic have won only once away from home in Europe in eight years - against Dinamo Moscow in 2009.
"It's a tall order," said Lennon. "Udinese are an excellent side and we haven't won away from home in a long while but we will give it everything we've got."
He added: "I thought we matched them for most of the game if not better them. It was an excellent performance and I though we deserved better from it."
Asked if he would have accepted his situation at the start of the campaign, Lennon said: "Of course. Going into the group we probably have been the underdog out of the four teams.
"I have seen a gradual progression and improvement in all the performances and it is a great stage to play in for these players.
"They came up against an excellent side who defended and counter-attacked very well but I can only give credit to the players for having a good go at it.
"You have to be mindful of Udinese, I would imagine that they would be on the front foot from the off in Italy but we will go for it, as we did tonight."
Atletico boss Gregorio Manzano was pleased his side were not made to pay for their missed chances.
He said: "At the end of the day, the most important thing was winning and we won the game. It was difficult to come here and win but it if we could have scored more goals it might have been so anxious for us."