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  • Manager: Experience and youth have been key to Celts' Euro success

    Manager: Experience and youth have been key to Celts' Euro success

    By: Newsroom Staff on 09 Nov, 2019 11:59

  • NEIL Lennon reckons the balance of youth and experience in the Celtic squad has been key to the excellent results in Europe recently and the manager highlighted the huge contribution from his coaching team.

    Celtic have gone from strength to strength in Europe this season and secured European football after Christmas for the third year running.

    This season they have done so in style with back-to-back wins over Lazio which sees Celtic qualify for the knockout stages with two games remaining in Group E of the UEFA Europa League.

    Neil Lennon was full of praise for his players' performances this season and said the new and old players alike have come together to form an excellent team with lots of potential.

    There’s a good balance of experience and youth in there,” said the manager. “Edouard’s still only 21 but he was phenomenal again last night. We have the experience ones in Scott Brown, Fraser Forster, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Jonny Hayes, who did a great job for us last night.

    “The balance of experience and youth is good. We have plenty of international experience as well so there’s no reason for us to believe we can’t go and compete in these games.

    “At the minute we’re in a good place with the form, consistency and level of performance. The defensive intelligence of the team has been immense as well. I thought Christopher Jullien was immense in Rome and Fraser Forster was outstanding as well.

    “The boys at the back did their bit, the midfield have been unbelievable this season and going forward we are a threat against anyone.”

    The Irishman admitted he was immensely proud of what his players have achieved so far this season and he apportioned credit for the success to his coaching staff as well as the team.

    “I take a huge amount of pride in the performance, but it's the sum of all parts,” he said. “I have a great coaching staff here. They’re young, dynamic and intelligent in John and Damien. Woodsy’s been here for a while and does a great job with the goalkeepers.

    “We’re all different personalities but we’re all very tight and we know what we want from the group. Their work ethic is fantastic and then there’s the fitness coaches and physios.”

    Neil Lennon said the achievement of Celtic winning in Italy for the first time in the club’s history has strengthened the bond between himself, the club and supporters.

    “When I came in in February there was a disconnect with the previous manager leaving, but it was all connected again in Rome and there was real pride there. It felt like the old days for me, even as a player, with that huge noise from the crowd and that pride. To send them home happy was probably as pleasing for me as winning the game for the players.

    “I can understand of the fans not being too sure. There was a lot of uncertainty around myself, but I have belief in myself, allied by a good support network behind the scenes, and that’s manifested itself in the right way.”

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