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  • Paradise passion keeps manager awake

    Paradise passion keeps manager awake

    By: Martin Dalziel on 21 Feb, 2015 11:09

  • ADRENALINE was still coursing through the veins of Celtic manager Ronny Deila when he went to bed on Thursday night after he watched his side draw 3-3 with Inter Milan in the UEFA Europa League.

    The Norwegian had little sleep as the match replayed over and over in his head but it was with positive thoughts that the Bhoys boss lay awake as he looked back on another incredible night in Paradise.

    A seemingly insurmountable task was overcome by his Hoops team after Stuart Armstrong’s clinical finish in the box and Hugo Campagnaro’s own goal cancelled out Xherdan Shaqiri and Rodrigo Palacio’s early strikes for Roberto Mancini’s side in the first half.

    Palacio bagged a second on the stroke of half-time to put the Nerazzurri ahead again, but with the Celtic support fully behind the team for the second half the Hoops persisted in their bid to get back into the game and eventually did so with John Guidetti’s sensational equaliser in stoppage time.

    The night of high drama left the Celtic manager with a sore throat and a million thoughts racing through his head, but the experience of a packed Paradise and the performance of his team has left the Norwegian in no doubt that a positive result can be taken from the return leg at the San Siro next week.

    He said: “There was not much sleep but it was a special night with the atmosphere so you get a lot of adrenaline with these games so that’s why there was not so much sleep.

    “I believe that we can do it and we know it’s going to be tough. We need to be at our best but I think we are going forward all the time now and we showed ourselves and everyone else that we can cope at this level. That gives us a lot of confidence.

    “If we get a goal down there then things can happen. You have to just continue with the match plan as it’s so early in the game. You have to keep believing.

    “Their goals came out of the blue so you have to keep on believing in what you’re doing and that’s what the team did and they started to switch the play well and get around on the sides.

    “Adam Matthews was very positive and the first goal was very good. Then we got the second and everything exploded.

    “I think we went to a different level from previously. If we had met Inter Milan at that level six months ago we wouldn’t have had a chance so I think we’re going the right way and I’m looking forward to the next one.

    “In the end you can feel a little bit good to come back from twice down and 2-0 down. That’ a good performance to get back into the game but I’m pleased about us showing that we have the fitness to cope with 90 minutes and we can keep the ball and put a good team like Inter under pressure.

    “That’s something you have to take with you and there were a lot of players who haven’t played those games before. There were only three players over 25-years-old so it was a young team out there so that’s why I’m pleased with us coming back.”

    The special atmosphere at Thursday night’s game was added to when the unique relationship between both Inter and Celtic was celebrated with a guard of honour featuring the Lisbon Lions and two players from the Inter squad from the European Cup final in 1967.

    That sight, along with a rousing speech from Bertie Auld, set the tone for the night and despite the early set back the Hoops faithful once again showed the world what they are made of, which left Ronny Deila full of praise for their backing of the team.

    He added: “The supporters here are the best in the world. I have never seen such an atmosphere and I’ve been to quite a lot of stadiums and big games so it just blew us away.

    “It helped us so much. When you stand behind your team when you’re 2-0 down, it gives more support to the players.

    "And when Craig Gordon made a mistake they supported him and that means so much because he made some good saves at the end of the match and that’s maybe why he did it.

    “That means so much and that is what the club is about – it’s about the supporters.

    “When you give something back to them and they’re happy it’s the best feeling you can have as a manger and a player because football is about entertaining and pleasing people.

    “On Thursday night it seems like people were happy with the way we approached the game and that we fought to the end and got a result.”

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