ROBERTO MANCINI praised the Celtic stars Scott Brown and Olivier Ntcham for their outstanding performances in the 1-0 victory over his side at Celtic Park last week. Mancini, who is always very respectful of Celtic and also his friend Brendan Rodgers, described the Celtic captain as “the heart” of the Celtic side.
It’s far from the case that the Italian former Manchester City boss, has given up hope of his side overcoming the deficit from the first leg. Mancini is it seems quietly confident.
“We didn’t play a game for two months but we played a good game with a mistake when we conceded a goal,” he explained at today’s Europa League press conference.
“I am confident that we can improve tomorrow.
“We knew Celtic is a good team with good players, a good manager and we knew it was going to be a difficult game.
“But at the same time we are a good team, the only problem is we didn’t play for two months.
“All the players are ready. It is not important to change the players, it is important to change the result.
“I am confident. We need to play a good game, concentrate, without pressure, this is important.”
Mancini’s immediate future may well be the 90 minutes battle with Celtic for a place in the last 16 of the Europa League but beyond that his plans remain uncertain with rumours flying around that he is set to be appointed Italy’s next manager.
He was asked about the rumoured meeting he had with Alessandro Costacurta, sub-commissioner of the Italian Football Association (FIGC).
“I never talked with Alessandro Costacurta,” he revealed. “I heard all this but it is not true. My head is on this game and this season.
“Everything can change at the end of the season but at this moment it is not my priority, my priority is Celtic tomorrow and the championship.”
With Mancini’s future open for debate and rumours of splits in the dressing room between the Russian and Argentinian stars, then there’s a chance that thus might all work in Celtic’s favour. Fingers crossed!
Meanwhile Zenit have responded to Celtic using their old logo which they used when winning the UEFA Cup in Manchester in 2008 against you know who, by calling the Scottish Champions, the Boston Celtics on their match day programme. Russian humour eh?
Here is the podcast extra ahead of the Zenit game…
Also on The Celtic Star today…
‘“c’mon the Chocolate McClair,” although I do like to call myself Chocciñho sometimes,’ laughs Brian McClair..read HERE.
Five Talking Points as excitement builds for Zenit v Celtic…read HERE.
As we walked past the referee’s room the Celtic manager said, “we call that the masons’ room,” Paul Lyons is our fan of the week…read HERE
And…In praise of Scott Brown, Celtic’s omnipresent anchorman – read HERE
Plus – ‘Difficult for Zenit to play against a big and strong striker like Moussa,’ Ntcham…read HERE
And – ‘On this day in 1925 our visitors to play in the Scottish Cup, was Solway Star,’ Jim Craig..read HERE
And there’s much more to come! Make The Celtic Star your daily destination for the best Celtic news and features.