Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Deila urges Bhoys to play with a brave 'Celtic heart'

Still in contention: Ronny Deila believes Celtic are capable of turning their European fortunes around

Ronny Deila acknowledged the size of the task he has in rescuing Celtic's Champions League hopes against Legia Warsaw at Murrayfield by admitting success might just make it the best night of his life.

The Hoops go into the game on the back of a crushing 4-1 defeat in Poland last week which could have been worse had the home side not missed two penalties and several other opportunities.

Parkhead boss Deila has only been at the club since taking over from Neil Lennon in June but at the pre-match press conference he showed he was aware of the significance of last week's result by saying: "It is the same in every club. If you lose it is a disaster but it's a bigger disaster here."

However, the Norwegian hopes to get sceptics and critics back on side with what would not only be one of the Hoops' great European results were they to overcome the Polish club, but also a personal highlight for the under-pressure Celtic manager.

"We have everything to win," said Deila, who will be without Efe Ambrose after the Nigeria defender was sent off in Poland.

"I haven't given up. It's possible.

"If we turn this around it will be a massive night and maybe the best night of my life.

"That is what we are wanting, dreaming of but behind that it needs a good performance.

"Thursday was a hard day but I have had many days like that in my career. That gets you reflecting and you have to use your experience to turn it around and bounce back.

"I can't go off and think of disaster, I have to think of how what we are going to do and how we will improve.

"The boys have been working well this week, we have been talking a lot and now we are looking forward to the game.

"There is always something positive with a negative for me.

"I have been thinking a lot and it is important that we get a lot of energy into the game because that was the most disappointing thing last week.

"At the end of the game were passive and lacking confidence."

To that end, Deila wants his players performing with "a 'Celtic heart"' against Henning Berg's side as they seek to avenge the first-leg defeat.

The former Stromsgodset boss, who denied any knowledge of West Brom's reported interest in attacking midfielder Kris Commons, said: "I want to see more enjoyment and energy on the pitch.

"That's what I want to see tomorrow: commitment and desire to win; desire to fight for each other and to be a team.

"Somebody told me to have a 'Celtic Heart'. I think that is a fantastic expression – everybody is feeling free and just wanting to attack which there was a lack of in the game in Warsaw.

"But two things we need to improve, the defending and (possession) we can't lose the ball in dangerous areas, like we did last week. If we do that we will make more chances and we know that we can score goals.

"We go out to attack every time at home but we need to do that with defending as well. It is important to be patient.

"But first of all, I am looking for revenge for what we saw last Wednesday.

"I want to see a compact, good team who work together and really enjoy playing football.

"Start with that and if we get a goal in the first half then we have a chance."

Meanwhile, Legia Warsaw boss Berg has defended his players' celebrations following their shock 4-1 Champions League qualifying win over Celtic in Poland last week.

Parkhead skipper Scott Brown claimed the Polish side "got a bit over-confident and celebrated in our boys' faces" at the end of a remarkable night at the Pepsi Arena which put a huge and perhaps irreparable dent in the Hoops' group-stage aspirations.

Brown, sidelined at the moment with a hamstring injury, insists the Celtic players will remember Legia's post-match behaviour.

However, Berg denied his players had in any way taunted the Scottish champions.

He said: "Our players were so happy to play a good game and score two late goals against Celtic, that's what they were celebrating."

Defender Inaki Astiz was also perplexed by Brown's comments.

"I am surprised at those allegations. We were just happy with the result," he added.

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