HERE’S what the managers had to say after Celtic’s 2-0 win over Cluj at Celtic Park last night, that put Celtic top of the group on 4 points, with Lazio and Cluj on 3 points and Rennes on 1 point. Let’s start with the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon…
“It was very exciting. It’s great to be back as a manager on that stage at Celtic Park. We wanted a strong performance from the team tonight and I got more than that. I thought we were outstanding.
“My only disappointment is that we didn’t win the game by more. They are functioning as a team, there is a real solidity about us and fluidity going forward.
“We looked really strong and thoroughly deserved the win. There was some outstanding individual performances and from one to eleven, I thought we were absolutely excellent against a very good side.
“I thought we were very good in Rennes and Rangers away (on Beautiful Sunday) was a great performance as well. So I’m getting great performances from the team. I think there is more to come. I said to the players tonight that I think we have the makings of a good side.
“It’s embryonic in the season and I’m not getting carried away. But I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted for the supporters as well to have European football back here and a good performance from the team. It was exciting and we created a lot of chances.
“I am really excited by the potential and the depth. We didn’t make a sub until late in the game and we still have Rogic, Ntcham, Bitton, Johnston and Sinclair. The starting eleven tonight were outstanding.
“It’s unfair to single anyone out really. But Scott Brown was superb. He and Callum McGregor give us a great platform. I thought Elyounoussi was outstanding from start to finish and grew into the game more and more.
“Edouard up front did some things that other players can’t do. As a unit, overall I’ve got to be really satisfied.
“We are top of the group and it’s a great start. It’s early, the group is still open, it’s tight. Cluj and Lazio both have three points and you can’t write Rennes off. But the performances I’ve had in the first two games have given us a lot of food for thought in a positive way.
“Some of our players were at top form, fitness levels and speed. It augurs well. There was more flair and snap about us tonight. We created a lot of chances. Just the final ball was lacking at times. But I’m absolutely ecstatic about that performance.”
Meanwhile the Cluj manager Dan Petrescu reckons that Celtic will reach the knock-out stages so his side are battling for the other qualifying spot with Lazio and Rennes.
“We know Celtic is a very good team as we played here before. We know it’s very difficult to win here as they’ve only lost here one time all season and that was against us.
“But I am happy with my team because they gave everything. Celtic have better players all over the pitch, but we cannot win two times at Celtic.
“For me Celtic and Lazio are the big favourites in this group. Normally they should go through but in football there are some surprises.”