Thursday, March 23, 2017

Deila uninterested in pitch excuses against Qarabag

SoccerNews in English Premier League 5 Aug 2015

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For the second time in a fortnight, Celtic manager Ronny Deila has dismissed concerns about the standard of an opponent’s pitch, claiming they are not much different to Scotland in the winter.

While the lead-up to Celtic’s UEFA Champions League qualifying third round second leg against Qarabag has been focused on the standard of the pitch at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium, Deila insisted his team can “handle different situations”.

The Norwegian’s comments mimicked his similar lack of interest in prepping an excuse ahead of Celtic’s trip to Stjarnan on July 22 in the last round of qualifying, where the Scottish Premiership champions played on an artificial surface.

Deila argued on Tuesday in Baku that there is no use worrying about pitch conditions if Celtic want to play in the Champions League.

Celtic had confirmed on Monday that they were “seeking assurances” regarding the standard of the pitch.

“It is not a perfect pitch of course. But it is a pitch and we are used to playing in those types of pitches in Scotland in the winter so we have to make the best of the situation,” he said.

“Again, this is how it is in football. Sometimes you have different conditions and you have to handle that.

“Since coming to Celtic I have been very impressed with the players and how they handle different situations and it will be no trouble tomorrow either.”

In the last round of qualifying, Celtic defeated Stjarnan 4-1 in Iceland to secure a 6-1 aggregate triumph.

Celtic won the first leg against Qarabag 1-0 and the Azerbaijani club are worried an away goal for Deila’s men could effectively end the tie.

“We can’t change the pitch but we will do our best to play at the highest level,” Qarabag coach Gurban Gurbanov said.

“We can’t let Celtic score; that is very important.

“It will be a hard game, the advantage is with Celtic but we have 90 minutes to change that.”

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