Respect Is Big In Italy
Scotland was a lot quieter the last time Francesco Guidolin was here
Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin is having nothing to do with criticism of his squad for tonight's game against Celtc. He has been accused of being disrespectful to Celtic and the Europa League by arriving at Parkhead for training on Wednesday night without a recognised first-team striker. Italy international Antonio Di Natale has been left behind because he is "tired", while Paulo Barreto and Antonio Floro Flores are both reportedly injured. It has been suggested that Guidolin will utilise attacking midfielder Diego Fabbrini to back up Almen Abdi, a midfielder who has been promoted to play the lone-striker's role. The only recognised attacker in the squad is 17-year-old Davide Marsura and he is expected to hear the kick-off whistle from the bench. Fellow youngsters Christian Battocchio and Mattia Bedin could start in a youthful five-man midfield. Guidolin revealed he had holidayed in the Highlands four months ago to get "away from the hustle and bustle'' of life. Not sure if he didn't want to head back there after he was questioned about his inexperienced squad by the massed ranks of the Italian and Scottish media at the post-training press conference at Parkhead.
He said: "My choices are logical. If anyone doesn't like it then tough. It is a question of necessity. I just don't have any other attackers available. I would have brought everyone along but many of the squad are very tired. It is a problem for us but it would have been a problem if Di Natale had travelled. He would have only played some of the game. What the people in Italy are saying isn't really important, the choice of players I have brought has been well thought out, it wasn't a decision I reached quickly. Di Natale has played four games in 15 days and if he were here I couldn't expect great things from him. These are choices that have been forced upon me. If we were playing Atletico Madrid or Rennes on Thursday I would have made the same decision but two weeks from now, who knows? But let me make it clear to the Scottish journalists, there is absolutely no way that I am turning my nose up at the Europa League or underestimating Celtic, absolutely not. This is the probably the toughest group in the competition.'' Neil Lennon played down significance of the Italian club arriving in Glasgow without a recognised first-team striker. He said: "If it benefits us then I'm pleased about it but we will wait and see. Di Natale is a quality player and has been in great form for the last 18 months, two years. If he is not there then I am sure they have adequate cover. I don't think it is disrespect. People have brought that up but I don't think so, their coach will do what he feels is best for their team.''
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