Deila does not fear knockout stages

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Ronny Deila believes Celtic have nothing to fear in the knockout stages of the Europa League despite qualifying on the back of a 3-1 home defeat by Salzburg.

Dinamo Zagreb’s 1-0 defeat at Astra in the other Group D game meant the Hoops are uncatchable with only a trip to Croatia remaining.

The Scottish champions were in disarray as Salzburg’s Brazilian striker Alan struck twice in a dramatic first 13 minutes and the visitors might have stretched their lead before Hoops midfielder Stefan Johansen reduced the deficit with a drive on the half-hour mark.

The home side dominated the second period but could not get back on level terms before an injury-time goal from substitute Naby Keita confirmed the Austrians as group winners.

In the last-32 draw Celtic could come up against one of four seeded third-placed teams who will drop down from the Champions League but Deila said: “I don’t think the third placed (teams) in the Champions League are any better than Salzburg.

“This is the standard.

“We met a modern football team in my opinion, they are unbelievably hard-working, very direct and if we can handle this we can handle the Champions League third teams as well.

“The best team has gone through, they have showed themselves to be a very good team and we have been the second best team.

“We are very happy to get through but we wanted to win and get through ourselves.

“I think Salzburg are a very good football team, every time they went into attack I felt threatened and I knew they were going to be as good.

“We started very poorly and conceded two easy goals and I didn’t feel well after 15 minutes when we were two down.

“But they showed courage to get back in the game and I’m proud we really attacked them but we could get the equaliser and then they got the third goal.”

Salzburg boss Adi Hutter was delighted to see his side make history by becoming the first Austrian team to win on Scottish soil to confirm their status as Group D winners.

He said: “It wasn’t too easy for us. We started well and pressed high and switched well, and quickly.

“It’s the first win for an Austrian team in Scotland and we wanted to top the group.

“It was wonderful being at Celtic Park and we had to fight at the end.

“But it was a deserved victory against a great European team.”

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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